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On-line version ISSN 2304-8557
Print version ISSN 0023-270X

Koers (Online) vol.75 n.4 Pretoria  2010


The changing face of American compassion: Ethnicity, religion, and worldview conflicts


Die veranderende gelaat van Amerikaanse barmhartigheid: Etnisiteit, godsdiens en wêreldbeskoulike konflik



J. Hexham

Department of Communications, University of Calgary, CALGARY, Canada. E-mail:




When Barack Obama announced his support for "Faith Based Initiatives" in August 2008 many people were shocked. Others saw it as a political ploy because they regarded the policy as one of the Bush Administration's more unpopular programmes. In fact, the idea of "Faith Based Initiatives" was first proposed during the Clinton Presidency with support from such liberals as Senator Joe Liebermann. In this article popular misunderstandings of the role of religion in the USA will be discussed to show that the issue is far more complex than the media and a host of critical authors want us to believe and that the attack on "Faith Based Initiatives" has far-reaching implications for the relationship between Christianity and politics in both America and the rest of the world. It also raises issues about ethnicity, religion and the conflict of worldviews.

Key concepts: Christianity and politics, conflict of worldviews, ethnicity and religion, Faith Based Initiatives


Die aankondiging van steun aan "Geloofsgebaseerde Inisiatiewe" deur Barack Obama het talle mense geskok. Ander mense weer het dit gesien as 'n politieke set, omdat hierdie program en beleid juis een van die Bush-administrasie se meer onpopulêre progamme was. Die idee van "Geloofgebaseerde Inisiatiewe" is eerste deur die Clinton-presidensie voorgestel met ondersteuning van liberale politici soos senator Joe Liebermann. In hierdie artikel word die populêre wanopvattings oor die rol van godsdiens in die VSA bespreek ten einde aan te toon dat hierdie aangeleentheid veel meer kompleks is as wat die media en 'n groot aantal outeurs voorgee dat dit is. Die aanval op die "Geloofsgebaseerde Inisiatiewe" het verreikende implikasies vir die verhouding tusssen Christendom en die politiek, sowel in die VSA as in die res van die wêreld. Dit stel ook vraagstukke aangaande etnisiteit, godsdiens en die konflik van wêreldbeskouings aan die orde.

Kernbegrippe: Christendom en politiek, etnisiteit en godsdiens, Geloofsgebaseerde Inisiatiewe, konflik van wêreldbeskouings



Full text available only in pdf format.



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