Westminster College Lecturer Explains How The Bond Between Religion and Politics Still Evolves
In the wake of the Trump administration’s limitations on refugees, immigrants and green-card holders from seven Muslim-majority countries entering the United States, yesterday a lecturer at Westminster College in Fulton spoke about how politics and faith have always been at odds.
Charles Kimball, a religious studies professor at the University of Oklahoma and an expert on Jewish, Christian and Muslim relations, delivered Westminster’s fifth annual C.S. Lewis lecture to a full house at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury.
Kimball said the relationship between religion and politics has always been a contentious one, touching on the American notions of separating church and state and religious monarchy in Judaism and Islam.
“It’s always a work in progress,” Kimball said. “It turns out there’s no template for exactly how you do this, but if you look historically, people are always adapting, adjusting and changing, often drawing upon principles in their sacred texts, but to adapt to the circumstances of their day to try and fashion something that can work.”
Kimball also said that people should be careful not to embrace perceptions about different religions based on images and stereotypes created by extremist arms of those faiths. For example, he said using examples of Islam’s radical fringes or groups like the Westboro Baptist Church gives a distorted view of those faiths that not does acknowledge the diversity within each. Throughout the talk, Kimball stressed the importance of education and community interaction as tools to fight misconceptions.