Dana Lloyd is assistant professor of Global Interdisciplinary Studies at Villanova University. She works at the intersection of religious studies, legal studies, Indigenous studies, and environmental humanities. She is the author of Land Is Kin: Sovereignty, Religious Freedom, and Indigenous Sacred Sites (University Press of Kansas, 2023)
“Children give us immense joy, but they are also hard work. We have to do everything for them but sometimes we also have to resist the urge to help them, so that they can become independent. They grow up too fast, but also, often, way too slowly. When they rebel against us, it is a sign that we have raised them well. Could we treat our political theological categories similarly? Could we want for them this flexibility, or mutability, this growing independence from us who created them?”
We are excited to bring Spencer Dew, Nicholas Shrubsole, and Méadhbh McIvor into conversation about the juridification of religion and the religification of law, about the network of relationships that are exposed to us when law and religion interact, about a shared skepticism toward religious identities, and more.
These questions of environmental justice become even more urgent in the face of our current crisis, as we see the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 on the same communities who suffer the most from other environmental harms.
From the perspective of political theology, the presence of Indigenous peoples and settlers shaped by historical and ongoing settler colonial relations raises important political and religious questions about the possibilities and conditions of sovereign Indigenous existence and the (im)possibities and conditions of restorative or reconciled settler futures.
The conversation about nature’s personhood and rights is always political, often legal, and sometimes theological. Most importantly, it is a localized conversation about the boundaries of a given community – who is part of the community and who isn’t.
Cavarero’s feminist theory of nonviolence takes the biblical commandment of “Thou Shall Not Kill” as its starting point. This commandment is ethical (it is about one’s relationships with others) and religious (it is about one’s relationship with God), but it is also political (without it, political communities cannot exist).
Neither the government nor the Court doubted the religiosity of the practice for which the Yurok, Karuk, and Tolowa nations sought protection. Yet, arguments about religious freedom obscured the true issues at stake and the need for sovereign freedom.