Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Harvey Cox on Brazilian Protestants and democracy.
I've been so busy that I keep forgetting to let you know that Harvey Cox's James Luther Adams Forum on Religion and Society [pdf], delivered at Harvard Divinity School in March, is available at the JLA Foundation website. Although initially promoted with the title, "James Luther Adams: Unitarian Evangelical or Evangelical Unitarian?," Cox decided instead to ask how well Adams's theories about the Protestant roots of voluntary associations — and the rise of democratic politics — apply to Brazil, where booming Evangelical and Pentecostal movements are challenging the religious and cultural status quo. The crente churches, as they're called, are showing signs of challenging the political status quo, too.
I especially appreciated getting yanked out of my North American context to be reminded that Protestantism — which has so comprehensively shaped U.S. religious politics, left and right — brings with it a set of political assumptions that simply don't exist in every culture. For one thing, as Cox puts it, "Blessed are the list makers": Protestants track and organize people. For another, the Protestant emphasis on conversion and personal decision breaks people out of inherited roles. Check it out.
Copyright © 2007 by Philocrites | Posted 6 June 2007 at 9:31 PM