Religion and the Public Sphere series success

Annual Fund support for the Institute of Public Affairs’ (IPA) Religion and the Public Sphere project has seen the School host six events, designed to open up a conversation about the role of religion in public life.

Charles Taylor, Jim Walters, Craig Calhoun

The events were organised around the following topics:

  • Democracy, Diversity, Religion
  • Religion, Security and Strategy: an unholy trinity?
  • Equal Rights and Equal Dignity of Human Beings
  • Equality for Secular Belief and Minority Faiths?
  • Has Religion been politicised or Politics theologised?
  • Anti-Semitism in the Modern Age

The latter topic was covered in an event in September with founding chair of the Vidal Sassoon Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism and the Chair of the Yad Vashem Research Institute, Professor Yehuda Bauer.

During the discussion, Professor Bauer explored the fault lines and distinctions between radical criticism of the Israeli government's policies, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, touching on the anti-Semitism controversy that affected the UK Labour Party in 2016. He also delved into issues related to radical Islam and hate speech more generally that impact on Jewish and other religious denominations.

Elsewhere, Professor Tariq Modood, Professor of Sociology, Politics and Public Policy at the University of Bristol, discussed the challenges faced in ‘recognising’ secular beliefs and minority faiths in Britain, at a time when they are showing a certain vitality, with that of a declining Christian heritage.

Annual Fund support has also enabled the IPA to launch a blog on the topic, focusing on the role of religion in British public life specifically, engaging with many of the key debates currently taking place in the UK from prison radicalisation to the relationship between religion and the media. The blog is at: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/religionpublicsphere/