Let me begin with a confession. When I cast my ballot for the midterm election last week in North Carolina, I didn’t vote for Kay Hagan. That doesn’t mean that I voted for her Republican challenger Thom Tillis, who ended up winning her Senate seat by a slight margin.
An article published in the Washington Post this past weekend notes that unlike previous midterm elections, this campaign has yet to see the emergence of a dominant, national theme. No one issue—or even set of issues—has taken center stage, cutting in, through, and across the various races. What we have instead is an election constituted through diverse, often locally- or regionally-defined issues that at the end of the day lack any sort of common ground.
Religion is, of course, no stranger to politics in the United States, a fact that becomes all too clear in election season, as incumbents and their challengers hone their rhetoric to appeal to the theological sensibilities of their base. For better or worse, religion will no doubt continue to play a role in the run-up to the midterm elections. But in the wake of the Supreme’s Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby . . . we can, I think, expect to hear a lot about religious freedom.
It’s become something of a commonplace among commentators and critics on both ends of the political spectrum to declare the death of the Occupy movement, whose campaigns against social and economic injustice and political corruption began to garner international attention in mid-2011. Although the last of the movement’s higher profile encampments were shut down in early 2012, it would be a mistake to conclude that Occupy is no more.
Led by the NC chapter of the NAACP and its charismatic president, the Rev. Dr. William Barber, protestors have every Monday for the past ten weeks come out to the state legislature building in Raleigh, NC to voice their opposition to a spate of conservative legislative measures. Since gaining control of both the legislature and the governor’s office for the first time in 100 years, the GOP has rapidly pushed through a string of regressive, ideologically-driven laws, often using tactics not fully on the up and up.
Clayton Crockett’s Deleuze Beyond Badiou is more than a commentary on Badiou’s reading of Deleuze or a defense of Deleuze. It is, rather, a transdisciplinary work that crosses the domains of theology, philosophy, and politics through a reading of the relationship between Deleuze and Badiou. Crockett’s goal, however, is not primarily descriptive but constructive, in that he uses the relationship between the two philosophers as a means for thinking otherwise.
The recent interest shown in religion and, specifically, Christianity, by otherwise non-religious thinkers has been something of a boon for theologians and the like-minded. Even when such non-Christian appropriations of theology offer a presentation of Christianity radically different from received orthodoxy, the very fact that the effort has been made is often taken as a signal of the continuing preeminence of a largely traditional Christian thought and practice. As Paul J. Griffiths has suggested, such thinkers, left without any other viable critical options, are “yearning for [the] Christian intellectual gold” that the church has always held in reserve. Because of this, their services can easily be enlisted for theology, since, as John Milbank has often suggested, it is theology alone that offers any real alternative.
Such readings of this so-called post-secular “turn to religion,” however, tend to move too quickly to theology, and this is especially the case with Agamben. Although some may wonder if Agamben’s putative appreciation of theology means that he is in fact a Christian, his various forays into theology—notably, The Time that Remains and, more recently, The Kingdom and the Glory—present, I suggest, a much different picture. Specifically, among other things Agamben’s reading of the theological tradition represents a concerted effort to profane that tradition, to render it inoperative for a new use, a use that I characterize as non-non-theological or non-non-Christian….