Judd Birdsall shares how and why he incorporates consideration of covenantal pluralism into the courses he teaches at Georgetown University. He finds that covenantal pluralism helps to broaden students’ conception of religious literacy and religious liberty and to enhance their ability to engage with the world’s deep diversity.
Fifty-four years after the adoption of two international covenants affirming civil, political, social, and cultural rights, countries around the world continue to grapple with how to protect and implement them. W. Christopher Stewart, Chris Seiple, and Dennis R. Hoover write about the concept of “covenantal pluralism” and how it can help human rights flourish around the globe.
As our world increasingly diversifies in the 21st century, societies will inevitably be confronted – physically and figuratively – with “otherness”: other cultures, races, and religions. In this post, IGE Senior Fellow Knox Thames discusses how empathy, respect, and advocacy can foster a framework of covenantal pluralism that respects difference but upholds human rights.
A region with a long history of religious pluralism, Nilay Saiya writes about resurgent religious nationalism in South Asia and its impact on religious minorities. Focusing on India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, Nilay explains how this nationalistic shift contributes to climates of instability and violence. This can be overcome, Nilay suggests, by embracing “covenantal pluralism.”
The diversification of our societies can quickly be interpreted as a “clash of civilizations,” yet inclusion can be seen as the homogenization of cultures. In this post, Katherine Marshall of the World Faiths Development Dialogue writes about covenantal pluralism and how sustainable development must incorporate multi-faith understanding and space for difference.
André Laliberté of the University of Ottawa focuses on a non-Western, non-Judeo-Christian example of a nation that embraces key aspects of covenantal pluralism—Taiwan. Laliberté writes about how a predominantly Confucian society has fostered and promoted a robust pluralism and framework of religious freedom, a pattern that stands sharply in contrast with the approach of China.
Indonesia’s political culture includes distinctive ideals of an inclusive multi-religious nationalism and, with it, a religiously undifferentiated citizenship. Unfortunately, however, efforts to realize this local variation on the covenantal pluralism ideal have repeatedly stumbled on the fact that a significant number of citizens prefer a religiously differentiated citizenship to a genuinely inclusive one.