Redefining ‘Religion’

Michael Schulson in the Washington Post, ‘ . . . The idea has adherents at the highest levels of power. “Islam is a political ideology” that “hides behind the notion of it being a religion,” national security adviser Michael Flynn told an ACT for America conference in Dallas last summer. The growing popularity of this idea speaks to a profound disconnect in American conversations about faith — and it offers a way that many self-proclaimed advocates of religious liberty might defend discriminatory policies against Muslims. It is difficult to think of a definition of religion that does not include Islam — an ancient tradition with practitioners who believe in one God, pray and try to live their lives in accordance with a scripture. So why has this particular canard taken off? . . . For many Americans, confusion about religious law, political ideology and sharia may reflect a distinctly Christian, and especially Protestant, way of thinking about the nature of religion. . .

Certainly, some Muslims may believe that faith touches all parts of their lives, including their political involvement. But the same could be said for devout members of almost any other religious tradition. The entanglement of faith and politics is not unique to Islam. ‘ click here.