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TUESDAY, OCT 30 2012, 06:30 PM

“Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind” - The influence of religious fundamentalism on presidential elections in the United States and international politics

With the upcoming elections just one week away, Austrian journalist and author Robert Misik, David Gibson and Zeyba Rahman will discuss the ways that religion is playing a part in politics. The conversation will be moderated by Laurie Goodstein.

There has been a lot of public discussion about the personal beliefs of the presidential candidates and it is well-known that religious affiliation or the absence thereof can affect voting behavior.

Religion has always also been an important factor in international politics, and the latest protests in Muslim countries against a U.S.-made video that insults the Prophet Mohammed, and against obscene cartoons published by a French magazine, demonstrate the interrelation of religion and politics in the global scheme of things.

What exactly should the role of religion in a political system, and in a secular state in particular, be?

Would a complete separation of religion and politics even be feasible, taking into consideration that religious beliefs have shaped our societies and their social and moral codes for centuries?

Do we need more or less religion in politics in order to represent the religious and secular population alike?

These are some of the questions the panelists will be discussing during tonight’s event.


Robert Misik is an Austrian journalist and author of several books on politics, among them Gott behüte! – Warum wir die Religion aus der Politik raushalten müssen (God forbid! – Why we need to keep religion out of politics), published in German by Aufbau.

Laurie Goodstein is National Religion Correspondent for the New York Times.

Zeyba Rahman, is a curator, artistic director and producer who works globally at the intersection of culture and civil society to encourage peaceful, pluralistic communities.

David Gibson is a national reporter for Religion News Service. He has written two books on Catholic topics, the latest a biography of Pope Benedict XVI.