Religion and Politics Around the World | WEA Sydney

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Agitation for guarantees of religious freedom, perhaps within an Australian Bill of Rights, have encouraged debates about the ideal relations between religion and politics at the personal level, between church and state at the institutional level. How far should governments be able to regulate religious activity? How far should religious principles be able to influence political decision-making? Political and social theorists like Weber, Strauss and Habermas have deliberated on the issues, and nation states around the world answer these questions in varied ways – from the conflation of Protestantism with nationalism in the United States to the extremes of theocracy in Iran and the subjugation of religion in China. This course surveys the relations between religion and politics in a number of countries, including Australia. Each unit includes questions and alternative scenarios to stimulate group discussion.

Independent Study Discussion Courses are for study by groups without a tutor, so there is no need to write reports. These courses were written by tutors who have now since retired from the Discussion Group Program. Some courses were written a number of years ago, and therefore contain references to events which are now more historical than current, however, all are entertaining, well-produced and worthwhile.


Course Author: Dr Douglas Golding

Course Code: D248

Supplied Material: Course Booklet

Units & Pricing: 6 units / $48 per person


Start your Group: Anyone can start a Discussion Group – seek out some like-minded friends or put up a notice in your local library, bookshop or workplace. Please note a minimum of 6 people is required to start a new discussion group.

Arrange the Meetings: New groups need to decide where and when to meet, and for how long – whatever best suits members' particular situations.

Run your Group: Choose a secretary to liaise with WEA and your tutor, a Discussion Leader to chair meetings, a reporter to take discussion notes to send to your tutor, and maybe a librarian to look after the books.

Start the Course: Contact WEA Sydney to enrol. Bookings can be made for one year, divided into two terms – Term 1 commences in February, Term 2 in July (Groups may make forward bookings for popular choices). Please indicate in what order your Group wishes to study the courses, if more than one course is booked.