Religion, Secular Democracy and Conflict Resolution in Zimbabwe

Authored by: Joram Tarusarira , Gladys Ganiel

The Ashgate Research Companion to Religion and Conflict Resolution

Print publication date:  November  2012
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409410898
eBook ISBN: 9781315613505
Adobe ISBN: 9781317041832


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Where there is violence, democracy struggles to survive. This statement may seem self-evident, given that the core of democracy is the non-violent management of political differences and transitions. The title of this chapter refers to ‘secular democracy’ and we wish to emphasize that, in the discussion that follows, we assume states to be secular. Although some state actors, political parties or politicians may try and co-opt religion for political ends, it would be difficult to claim that there are any states today that are out-and-out theocracies. It is rare to see the power of the state fused with the power of the dominant religion, as in Iran. So we assume the separation of church and state, and see civil society as the realm in which religious actors operate. We also start from the premise that in violent contexts, democracy is compromised and some form of conflict resolution is necessary for democracy to return or, in some cases, to be established for the first time. As such, conflict transformation (a term which we prefer to use instead of conflict resolution, as we explain below) and democratization are inextricably linked.

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