Religion News

The Pope in Cuba: What Does it Mean?

Sep 21, 2015
"The worldwide popularity of Pope Francis and the oft expressed media speculation that he might use his visit to pressure the Cuban government to initiate major changes misconstrues the role of the Cuban church, as well as the purposes of the papal visits which were and are primarily pastoral aimed at fortifying the evangelizing capacity of the Cuban church," writes Margaret Crahan on the papal visit to Cuba.

“A Sacred Space Is Never Empty”

Sep 14, 2015
In continuation of our alumni interview series, we talked with Title VIII-supported Research Scholar Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock to hear her reflections on her fellowship. Dr. Smolkin-Rothrock, Assistant Professor of Russian History at Wesleyan University, is writing a book about the confrontation between scientific atheism and lived religion in the Soviet Union. See the discussion below on religious policy and atheism throughout Soviet history.

Will ISIS Infect Bangladesh?

Aug 04, 2015
"Thanks to increased counterterrorism efforts spearheaded by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, IS has few allies that can help it tap into Bangladesh’s large Muslim population. Pro-IS sentiment, simply put, is very weak in Bangladesh," write Atif Jalal Ahmad and Michael Kugelman.

Luther’s Fortress: Martin Luther and His Reformation Under Siege

Jul 31, 2015
Prolific author, acclaimed historian, and Wilson Center Senior Scholar, James Reston’s latest book draws on primary source correspondence, notes, and other writings to provide a gripping portrait of what may be the most productive months of Martin Luther’s life. Luther’s Fortress: Martin Luther and His Reformation Under Siege, chronicles a critical but little-known episode in Luther’s life, revealing its pivotal role in the history of Christianity. That’s the focus of this edition of Wilson Center NOW.

Orthodoxy and the Future of Secularism After the Maidan

Jun 12, 2015
In many ways the undeclared war between Russia and Ukraine has triggered seismic shifts in the religious landscape in the two countries. Although united by a common Eastern Christian faith tradition, Russia and Ukraine are increasingly separated by the same. After more than twenty years of an independent Ukrainian state that has adopted its own legislative policies toward religious institutions and the means of regulating the exchange of peoples, goods and ideas, a growing number of differences in terms of cultural values and political orientations are now manifest between the two countries.

The Power of Japan’s Religious Party

Dec 04, 2014
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s victory in the upcoming December 14 general elections is expected. But the extent of the political foothold of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will be dependent once again on the support of the Soka Gakkai, the massive Buddhism-based organization that dominates Japan’s religious landscape.

ISIS Says the Quran Allows Enslaving Women. Will Clerical Leaders Respond?

Oct 14, 2014
"Islamic State militants crossed a last possible boundary of decency by citing the Quran as authority for the barbarism they have been practicing against women. Equally disturbing, Arab leaders and the ulama, the clerical leaders of Islam, have been silent in the face of this effrontery," writes Haleh Esfandiari.

The Iranian Sphere of Influence Expands Into Yemen

Oct 09, 2014
"The implications of events in Yemen extend beyond its borders. If the Houthis secured Bab Al Mandab and the sea in Al Hudaydah governorate, another strategic waterway, they would control the traffic from the Suez Canal and the Persian Gulf, a sobering prospect for those worried about increased Iranian influence in the region,"

Why Kobani Matters

Oct 09, 2014
"Thundering air power can be daunting, but sometimes the effect is more psychological than physical. Big costly bombs fired by big costly warplanes have been knocking a fair number of “armed vehicles,” which may be little more than a pick-up truck with a weapon mounted on the back. But they have not yet set back the ISIS campaign in Syria," writes Robin Wright.

Iran’s Dinner Diplomacy

Sep 30, 2014
"It’s crunch time for diplomacy on Iran’s controversial nuclear program." Last year, President Rouhani answered Obama's question of possible coöperation on other matters with a "Persian proverb: 'Let’s raise the baby we just gave birth to before we have another.' This year, given the success of ISIS, the Iranians seem to be in a bit more of a hurry to get that process started" says Robin Wright.