What Opponents of Theocracy Can Learn from the Nuba
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 09:39:27 PM EST
There are many challenges in contending with theocratic political movements bent on domination. One of the challenges is building sufficient knowledge and mastering understandable terms with which to discuss these movements.  Another is making reasonable distinctions among the various groups and individuals and avoiding the intellectual and political errors of broad-brushing, and labeling and demonization.  These errors tend to confuse rather than clarify what we know (or think we know) and stop learning and conversation cold.  Good reporting, scholarship and effective political thinking and action in defense of pluralism depends on building, and being able to use and to articulate this knowledge.

That is why I was so struck by what a Sudanese Anglican Bishop told me in a recent interview for Religion Dispatches.

 

The politicians and generals who lead the Khartoum regime in northern Sudan claim that they will seek to advance Sharia law, when the more religiously diverse South Sudan separates and becomes an independent nation on July 9th.  Meanwhile, a widening civil war is already underway as the Khartoum regime appears bent on militarily crushing domestic political opposition and taking the oil and agricultural resources of contested border areas.  The escalating conflict is much in the news at this writing.   As the horror spreads, I hope that we do not lose sight of a remarkable example of how to be critical of a theocratic political entity without resorting to broad brushes of any one, or all religions.  

Anglican Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail, who is a leader in interfaith relations for his church in Sudan was in the U.S. when he and his fellow Anglican pastors were hunted and their cathedral burned on the northern province of South Kordofan.  He believes if he had not been here, he might now be in a mass grave in Kadugli.  As I learned in the course of our interview, he is an articulate exponent of the values of religious pluralism -- even in the face of a genocidal regime.  He thinks that this may be part of why he was targeted. It seems that Arab Islamic theocrats from Khartoum find religious pluralism of the Nuban people of South Kordofan, threatening.  

As displaced people flee Kadugli in all directions, Bishop Andudu has become a refugee of a different kind:  He is a black African Christian leader called to the world stage as a voice for the persecuted, the displaced, the slaughtered, and the silenced.

As chair of an interfaith committee, I have developed good relationships with Arabs and Muslims in some parts of the State and some Islamic extremists are not happy because of that. In addition, I am black and a Christian, which means inferior and an infidel to some Muslims and Arabs--but not to all.  I know some Muslims and some Arabs oppose what the Khartoum regime is doing. In the Nuba Mountains, there are marriages between Christian and Muslim families, so we are showing the world how to live together.  We know how to build relationships based on mutual trust and respect, if the Khartoum regime would leave us in peace.

I also asked Bishop Andudu about the inter-religious dynamics as they relate to war and peace in Sudan.

The issue is complex and has more to do with Arabization--some Arabs imposing their own culture on black people, refusing, denying other black cultures.  In some learning institutions and schools in Sudan, there is little or no history of black people; what children learn is history from Arab perspectives.

We do not have big problems with Muslims in most parts of South Kordofan, only in a few places, especially in the areas where Arab culture and politics are mixed with radical perspectives of Islamic religion.  As you can see from the genocide in Darfur, where most Darfuri people are Muslims, the Khartoum regime has shown willingness to kill Muslims, so it is obviously not just a matter of Islamic religion.  The Khartoum regime is led by individuals who are Arabs and who are indicted war criminals, and who have a record of oppressing black people, whatever religions we take. But the Khartoum regime does not speak for all Arabs, any more than they speak for [all] Muslims.

There is much more, and I think worth reading his carefully chosen words in context.

For those of us in the U.S. who have to contend with the relentless politics of "blame it on Islam" led by demagogues of the Religious Right, Andudu's articulation of the values of inter-faith respect and understanding, and his refusal to smear all Arabs and Muslims because of the horrific actions of some, is a model for how we can better contend with some of our own theocratic demagogues.




Display:
interfaith bishop stand on gay bishops in his church?

by JerrySloan on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 12:21:48 AM EST
but whatever they may be, his views on mutual respect among people of differing faiths, unified in their opposition to things theocratic, I think remain useful for people on our side of the pond to consider.

by Frederick Clarkson on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 01:41:26 AM EST
Parent


that this bishop realizes the problem is fundamentalism and not religion.

I just wonder if he's connected with the interfaith alliance... what he's said sounds right.

by ArchaeoBob on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 09:50:28 AM EST



WWW Talk To Action


Celebrating Banned Books Week
Banned Books Week is the venerable annual celebration of the right to read and the highlighting of efforts by cultural vigilantes of various sorts......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Birthers, Birchers and Lee Harvey Oswald
"It would be more accurate to say that Oswald was his own agent, that he was moved to act by dint of his own......
By wilkyjr (4 comments)
Are Civil Rights and Religious Liberty Mutually Exclusive?
The question posed in the title might seem merely rhetorical:  but its not.  All sides, not to mention the media, often frame contemporary controversies......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
The Final Repudiation Of Phyllis Schlafly
Monday night around 9:40 I received an email with a curious subject line. "The Greatest American Woman, R.I.P.," it read. "Who could that be?"......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Is This the Dawning of the Age of Vulgar Demagoguery?
Before the end of GOP primaries, I wrote about how Catholic neo-conservatives couldn't bring themselves to support Donald Trump. Even now that he is......
By Frank Cocozzelli (5 comments)
Getting the Low Down on Dominionism
I am pleased to report that the task of getting the low down on dominionism may be becoming easier for scholars, journalists and activists.......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)
Dominionism Hiding in Plain Sight
Dominionism has been an evolving movement for a half century. Fed by two main streams, it has becoming a roaring current, tearing through American......
By Frederick Clarkson (9 comments)
Chancy Combo: Why The Founders Were Not Fans Of Preacher-Politicians
Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump has vowed to repeal a federal law that bars houses of worship (and other tax-exempt non-profits) from endorsing......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Beware The Gender Unicorn: Franklin Graham Takes Aim At The Transgender Community
Part of my job involves monitoring the activities of Religious Right groups, which means every day my email box receives messages from groups like......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
The Politics of Fear
Joseph Ellsworth McWilliams was born on an Indian reservation in Oklahoma.  He moved to New York City and became a Communist.  Later on he......
By wilkyjr (3 comments)
Persecution-Free Park: Religious Freedom Still Not Under Attack In America
I just got back from a week-long vacation with my wife and son. We were in Acadia National Park in Maine.On our second day......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Mike Pence and The Roots of the Right-Wing "Political Correctness" Conspiracy Theory
The term "Political Correctness" was hijacked by right-wing ideologues in the late 1980s to trivialize and disparage concern for basic human rights for people......
By Chip Berlet (4 comments)
Mike Pence in 2006 spearheaded a mean-spirited plan to deport all undocumented immigrants
Many of us know Indiana Governor Mike Pence as a nasty homophobe with a carefully-crafted respectable demeanor. But did you know that In 2006,......
By Chip Berlet (5 comments)
What's Past is Prologue: Dominionism is Still Rising
For a half century, a theocratic political movement has been rising in the U.S.  Like any large, successful movement in history, it has a......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)
For Salon.com readers - On Donald Trump and William S. Lind
For readers clicking on the first link in Paul Rosenberg's Salon.com interview with Bruce Wilson, here is a link to my recent report (first......
By Bruce Wilson (3 comments)

Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (1 comment)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (4 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (1 comment)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (13 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (2 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (4 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (10 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (1 comment)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (11 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (3 comments)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (1 comment)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (3 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.