Season 4, Episode 5

Religion & War

At any moment in the past year, the international news has been filled with stories of increasing global violence and war. Many of these wars are shaped by long-held rivalries, contrasting views of faith and belonging, and the opinions of dispersed communities that far-exceed the borders of the nation-state. Theorists have argued that the historical relationship between war and religion rests on three propositions: first, war creates martyrs; second, war is about the meaning of religion; and third, war is a manifestation of faith. While pithy, each of these propositions captures centuries-long debates that are complex and substantial. In the present, debates about war and whether peace as reality exists will involve how the public and thought leaders characterize the three propositions. Join us as we explore these and other propositions at the intersection of war, religion, and the possibility of peace.

Host: Raymond Haberski, Jr.

Raymond Haberski, Jr. is Professor of History and Director of American Studies at IUPUI. He also directs the Institute for American Thought and is part of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture. For the 2008–2009 academic year he held the Fulbright Danish Distinguished Chair in American Studies at the Copenhagen Business School. Haberski is trained in twentieth century U.S. history with a focus on intellectual history and his books include It’s Only a Movie: Films and Critics in American Culture (2001), Freedom to Offend: How New York Remade Movie Culture (2007), The Miracle Case: Film Censorship and the Supreme Court (2008), God and War: American Civil Religion Since 1945 (2012), Voice of Empathy: A History of Franciscan Media in the United States (2018), with Andrew Hartman, eds., American Labyrinth: Intellectual History for Complicated Times (2018), and with Philip Goff and Rhys Williams, eds., Civil Religion Today (2021). With Andrew Hartman, he is co-host of the podcast Trotsky and Wild Orchids.

Ray's full bio

Panelist: Samuel Moyn

Samuel Moyn is Chancellor Kent Professor of Law at Yale University. His areas of interest in legal scholarship include international law, human rights, the law of war, and legal thought, in both historical and current perspective. In intellectual history, he has worked on a diverse range of subjects, especially twentieth-century European moral and political theory. He has written several books in his fields of European intellectual history and human rights history, including The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History (2010), and edited or coedited a number of others. His most recent books are Christian Human Rights (2015, based on Mellon Distinguished Lectures at the University of Pennsylvania in fall 2014) and Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World (2018). His newest book, Humane: How the United States Abandoned Peace and Reinvented War, appeared with Farrar, Straus, and Giroux in fall 2021.  Over the years he has written in venues such as Boston Review, the Chronicle of HigherEducation, Dissent, The NationThe New Republic, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.

Samuel's full bio

Panelist: Mary Ellen O'Connell

Mary Ellen O’Connell is  work is Robert and Marion Short Professor of Law and Professor of International Peace Studies, Kroc Institute at the University of Notre Dame. Dr. O’Connell’s work is in the areas of international law on the use of force, international dispute resolution, and international legal theory. She is the author or editor of numerous books, including, most recently, The Art of Law in the International Community (Cambridge University Press, May 2019; paperback 2020) and Self-Defence Against Non-State Actors (with Tams and Tladi, Cambridge University Press, July 2019). Professor O’Connell served as a Title X professional military educator for the U.S. Department of Defense in Germany and was also an associate attorney in private practice with the international law firm of Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C.

Marry Ellen's full bio

Panelist: Kate E. Temoney

Dr. Kate E. Temoney is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Religion at Montclair State University. She is the American Academy of Religion co-chair of the Religion, Holocaust, and Genocide Unit; a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Committee on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust, and an Editor for Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal. Dr. Temoney teaches courses on Religious Ethics, the Holocaust, Genocide, African Religions, Religions of the World, and Religion & Human Rights, and her international publications and presentations—in such places as Brazil, Cambodia, Poland, Belgium, Morocco, Canada, and Australia—address the intersections of religion, human rights, mass atrocities, and theory of history. A selection of her work includes: “An Assessment of the Plan of Action for Religious Leaders and Actors to Prevent Incitement to Violence that Could Lead to Atrocity Crimes” in the Routledge Handbook on Religion and Genocide (Routledge, 2022); and “Religion and Genocide Studies” in The Handbook of Genocide Studies (Edward Elgar Press, forthcoming).

Kate's full bio

This event took place on February 22, 2024.

Additional Resources

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Religion & War Resources from Panelists

“Religion &”: Center Conversations on the State of Religion and the Current Moment

“Religion &” is a series of monthly conversations between leading academics and thinkers in multiple fields hosted by the Center to continue these critically important interventions.  Every Third Thursday at 3p ET we discuss a topic that looks at the relationship between religion, the pressing issues of our day, and their impact on the fields we study.

Previous episodes of “Religion &” can be viewed on our YouTube channel.

A JOURNAL OF INTERPRETATION: This semiannual publication explores the interplay between religion and other spheres of American culture.

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