Apropos of my earlier post on Plucknett’s fine volume and the problem of church and state is this difficult story in today’s New York Times about the Chinese government’s decision to bulldoze the beautiful and imposing Sanjian Church in Wenzhou. You can see the pile of ash and rubble that remains. The ostensible secular purpose offered by the government was a violation of a zoning ordinance. But the story reports that the Chinese government has issued demolition orders and orders for the removal of crosses for dozens of other Christian churches as part of a concerted, but non-public, strategy to suppress Christianity and its “excessive religious sites” and “overly popular” religious activities.
Also of interest is that Christianity in particular seems to be a problem for the government. Government officials have been publicly praising other religions including Buddhism and Confucianism–a dramatic change in official policy–in an effort to augment the growing inter-religious tensions. But “Christianity,” the story reports, “is seen by some in the government as a colonial vestige at odds with the party’s control of political and social life.”
Today, Routledge releases Constructing Indian Christianities: Conversion, Culture, and Caste, edited by Chad M. Bauman (Butler University) and Richard Fox Young (Princeton Theological Seminary). The publisher’s description follows:
This volume offers insights into the current ‘public-square’ debates on Indian Christianity. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork as well as rigorous analyses, it discusses the myriad histories of Christianity in India, its everyday practice and contestations and the process of its indigenisation. It addresses complex and pertinent themes such as Dalit Indian Christianity, diasporic nationalism and conversion. The work will interest scholars and researchers of religious studies, Dalit and subaltern studies, modern Indian history, and politics.
From June 23-27, the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion will host its annual summer academy at St. Hugh’s College in Oxford. The Summer Academy is a major international event held for the benefit of leading academics, policymakers, international officials, practicing lawyers, journalists, NGO representatives, and students, working in the field of law, religion and international relations. This year’s theme is “Sacred and Secular–International Religious Freedom and Varieties of Secularism from the Perspectives of Comparative Law, International Law and Foreign Policy.” For details, please click here.
Today is the 236th anniversary of the death of Voltaire.