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


Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (23 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (10 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (7 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (7 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (9 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (6 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (6 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (3 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (8 comments)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (9 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (6 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (8 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (22 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/21/04356/9417 I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (17 comments)
Fear
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (9 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (11 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (13 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (9 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (6 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 (6 comments)
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 (6 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 (7 comments)
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 (14 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 (10 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 (8 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 (6 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 (4 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 (7 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.