Religion and Globalization

August 21, 2000

Source: The Denver Post

On August 21, 2000, The Denver Post reported that religion "can't be left out of international discussions, although people have tried to do just that for centuries, a Catholic scholar said here Sunday...Hardly any national or international debate, turmoil, movement or issue is without a religious angle, said the Rev. Bryan Hehir, dean of the Harvard Divinity School... 'Religion is often the absent element' in political discussions, Hehir said, noting that the practice dates back centuries to when governmental leaders viewed religion as a private matter and believed that they could preserve religious freedom and religious peace if they kept religion out of public political discussion...But Hehir said there is hardly a political conflict without a religious basis, or at least a religious component, citing conflicts in South Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and even the collapse of the Soviet Union. Globalization is mostly talked about in terms of economics, he said, and people talk about the 'logic of globalization, but we need an ethics of globalization, too...'"

Another aspect of the discussion focused on the ways in which Americans are practicing religion. "Many university students today 'think we can be perfectly moral without religion,' said Garry Wills, historian and author of the recent book Papal Sins. 'But most Americans get their morality through their religious experiences. And religion has always had a great deal to do with politics,' he said, including religion's involvement in the abortion and civil rights debates. 'If we think other countries can separate religion and politics, we are fooling ourselves,' Wills said."