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The Armies of God: A Study in Militant Christianity
Over the past 30 years, US foreign policy has relied increasingly on the presence of evangelical Christians in policy-making, administration, funding, and work in the field. It is a presence that is little advertised, and systematically obscured from public view. But it is a crucial and extremely influential presence – politically, militarily, culturally and economically. And it is a presence which has had far-reaching (and often disastrous) effect on the relationship between the Christian West and non-Christian cultures, religious communities and nations. This book looks at the ways that Western politics incorporate, and exploit, religion. In particular, it examines the rise of US evangelicalism as a force in world affairs. It looks in detail at some of the most powerful of the agencies involved, and at the way they operate – often as US government proxies – in such countries as Iraq, Indonesia, Thailand and India. Religion is always a delicate subject, and in recent years, religious extremism has had a busy press. Armies of God is a plea for us to realize just how pervasive (and unspoken) is the role of religion in power politics – and how destructive we have allowed it to become.
Sang Nila Utama and the Lion of Judah
Malaysia has one of the most diverse populations on earth – a product largely of colonial policy, but also of a strategic location between a number of ethno-cultural and religious blocs. There are few countries in the world where the pattern of ethnic and religious belonging is as complex as it is in Malaysia. And yet, for half a century, with one serious lapse, the country has managed to live peacefully with itself. In recent years, however, global geopolitics have begun to disturb the fabric of domestic coexistence in new ways – especially through the import of religious extremism. In the process, religious and ethnic sensitivities have been sharpened and sometimes deliberately (and perilously) confounded. This book attempts to clarify the role of one set of actors – those Western evangelicals, and their local proxies, who subscribe to the ideologies of Christian Zionism and Christian Dominionism. In pursuit of the systematic Christian transformation of Malaysia, both stress the unity of religious and secular action. And both are gaining ground in national life. Their success is due to a number of factors: the most important of these are the mass offensive launched by foreign evangelical agencies, the power of supportive geopolitics, the efficiency of local evangelical networks, and the play of local ethnic and religious politics. The interplay of these is examined in detail in an attempt to discover how Christian Dominionists and Christian Zionists (who comprise just two to three per cent of the population) aim to transform the wider national society of one…