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21. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 6 > Issue: 3
Carole M. Cusack Women, Insecurity, and Violence in a Post-9/11 World. Bronwyn Winter
22. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 6 > Issue: 3
Massimo Introvigne Gatekeeping and Narratives about “Cult” Violence: The McDonald’s Murder of 2014 in China
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The sociological concept of “gatekeeping,” i.e., of filtering news for several purposes, allowing only some to reach the public, is useful to explain how often only negative news about “cults” are published by mainline media. This theory is illustrated through a case study of the murder of a young woman in a McDonald’s diner in Zhaoyuan, Shandong, China in 2014. The Chinese authorities, who were pursuing a campaign of repression against The Church of Almighty God, successfully allowed only information connecting the murder with that Church to reach the international media. When Western scholars studied the documents of the case, however, they concluded that the homicide had been perpetrated by a different Chinese new religious movement. They also realized that gatekeeping had the perverse effect of focusing the attention on the alleged connection with The Church of Almighty God, leaving outside of the gate essential information that would have allowed a serious study of the small group responsible for the murder, and a comparison with other crimes committed by new religious movements.
23. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 6 > Issue: 3
Chas S. Clifton A Texas Witch On Trial
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Although Wicca, or contemporary Pagan witchcraft, is by all definitions a new religious movement, it lacks many of the characteristics the NRMs often display, such as a charismatic founder(s), millenarian prophecies, or new forms of social order. Nor have Wiccans been identified with commonly studied forms of violence with NRMs, such as mass suicides, violence against former members, or attacks on surrounding populations. In 1980, however, as Wicca was on the verge of both a growth spurt and increased media attention, Loy Stone, a leader of one organization, the Church of Wicca, was tried for murder in Texas. The victim, a fifteen-year-old girl, was one of a large group of teenagers who had been committing acts of harassment and vandalism during October 1977 at the farm inhabited by Stone, his wife, and his elderly mother, actions I would categorize as falling into the folkloric definition of “legend trips.” The Stone case makes clear the persistence of abusive stereotypes of “devil-worshipers” in America. Finally, it challenged members of the Wiccan community to decide whether the Stones should be supported or rhetorically cast out.
24. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 6 > Issue: 3
Liselotte Frisk “Spiritual Shunning”: Its Significance for the Murder in Knutby Filadelfia
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This paper argues that the practice of “spiritual shunning,” defined as deliberate isolation of one person from a religious group for alleged spiritual reasons, may have been a significant factor in a murder case which happened in Sweden in 2004 in a small religious group with a Pentecostal background. The material consists of interviews with four former members, who describe the process of spiritual shunning as it existed in the group before it started to fall apart in the autumn of 2016. The four interviewees describe the process of spiritual shunning in roughly five stages: how they began to fall out of grace; when the door to Jesus definitely closed; the process of working their way back; being back in grace; and finally having the mission to help others move back to grace again. The informants describe very clearly the desperation they felt when they faced the possibility that they would not belong to the chosen ones when Jesus would soon come back, but would instead be burning in hell. Many sources document that the perpetrator of the crime in 2004 was spiritually shunned by the core group at the time of the murder. The murder was presented to her by the pastor who was later convicted for instigating the crime, as a way to pay off her spiritual debts.
25. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Michael Jerryson Introduction
26. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Kelly Denton-Borhaug Sacrificial U.S. War-Culture: Cognitive Dissonance and the Absence of Self-Awareness
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This article explores the potent sacrificial sacred canopy that shrouds rhetoric, practices, and institutions of post-9/11 war-culture in the United States. Analyzing examples from popular culture, presidential rhetoric, and military history, especially Andrew Bacevich’s America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History, I show how the depth and breadth of sacrificial rhetoric and logic result in a highly disciplined practice of framing and decision-making about militarism and war in the United States. Sacrificial linguistic patterns profoundly ignite and transcendentalize militarization and war, even while simultaneously mitigating conscious awareness, concern, and protest.
27. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Iselin Frydenlund Buddhist Militarism Beyond Texts: The Importance of Ritual During the Sri Lankan Civil War
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This article addresses Buddhist militarism by exploring monastic-military ritual interactions during the Sri Lankan civil war, lasting from 1983 to 2009. Much has been written on the importance of Buddhism to Sinhala nationalism, the redefinition of the Buddhist monastic role in response to colonialism and the modernization process, as well as the development of a Buddhist just-war ideology. While these perspectives in various ways emphasize the importance of the Buddhist monastic order in pushing forward a Sinhala Buddhist nationalist agenda, little attention has been paid to the performative aspects of Buddhist militarism. Based on ethnographic data gathered during the Norwegian-facilitated peace talks (2000–2008), this article shows how rituals became crucial in conveying support to the state’s military efforts without compromising religious authority. By looking at Buddhist monastic ritual interaction in military institutions, this paper argues that the acceptance of the use of warfare is less anchored in systematized just-war thinking than the term “Buddhist just-war ideology” seems to suggest. Rather, through an anthropological approach to Buddhism and violence, this article shows that the term “Buddhist implicit militarism” better captures the rationale behind the broad monastic engagement with military institutions beyond minority positions of radical Buddhist militancy during a given “exception” in history. The essay concludes that monastic-military ritual interaction is a social field in which this “implicit militarism” is most clearly articulated.
28. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Ankur Barua Encountering Violence in Hindu Universes: Situating the Other on Vedic Horizons
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A study of Hindu engagements with violence which have been structured by scriptural themes reveals that violence has been regulated, enacted, resisted, negated or denied in complex ways. Disputes based on Vedic orthodoxy were channeled, in classical India, through the mythical frameworks of gods clashing with demons, and later in the medieval centuries this template was extended to the Muslim foreigners who threatened the Brahmanical socio-religious orders. In the modern period, the electoral mechanisms of colonial modernity spurred Hindu anxieties about a weakened nation which would die out in the face of Muslim solidarity, and various Hindu organizations began to increasingly draw on motifs from the Vedas, Bhagavad-gītā, and other texts to speak of a martial Hindu nation. These two moments—the articulation of the boundaries of the robust Hindu nation and the projection of the Muslim as the enemy lurking at the gates—have been integral to the shaping of Hindu cultural nationalism by several key thinkers and political activists. Thus, the forms of violence associated with Hindu universes should be placed within their dynamic socio-historical contexts where Hindus have interpreted, engaged with, and acted on a range of scriptural texts both to generate violent solidarities and to speak of peace. A study of these phenomena alongside some Christian theological attempts to legitimize, valorize or transcend violence from within scriptural horizons points to the complex conceptual terrain encompassed by the conjunction in “religion and violence.”
29. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
James Ponniah Communal Violence in India: Exploring Strategies of its Nurture and Negation in Contemporary Times
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This article, based on the fieldwork done at two places in India, namely Kandhamal in Odisha and Mangalore in Karnataka, not only investigates different forms of anti-Christian narratives produced by the Hindu extremists to legitimize and perpetuate communal violence but also draws one’s attention to the Christian response that delegitimizes such narratives and arrests its reception by the common public. The anti-Christian and anti-minority narrative of the Hindutva camp is founded upon a single meta-narrative that India is a Hindu nation. This narrative—which is constructed by the right-wing Hindu groups for the last three decades in Independent India—not only denies, by default, equal citizenship to Christians, but also portrays them as anti-national, and thus legitimizes violence against them. To this challenge, Christians in India respond by reinventing their national citizenship through political activism and socio-economic engagements to build a more mature secular Indian state, which would become less and less vulnerable to religious violence in India. The essay is divided into two parts. While the first part deals with multiple ways through which communal violence is provoked in these two states, the second part focuses on how Christians of India respond to this new reality of polarization and repression.
30. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
David Cook The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State. By William McCants
31. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Judy Ledgerwood Deathpower: Buddhism’s Ritual Imagination in Cambodia. By Erik W. Davis
32. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
David Frankfurter The Invention of Satanism. By Asbjørn Dyrendal, James Lewis, and Jesper Peterson
33. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Gregory D. Alles Pentecostals, Proselytization, and Anti-Christian Violence in Contemporary India. By Chad Bauman
34. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Jimmy Yu Reflections On Violence in Asian Religions
35. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Paul R. Powers Black Banners of ISIS: The Roots of the New Caliphate. David J. Wasserstein
36. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Frank J. Korom Political Violence in Ancient India. Upinder Singh
37. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Daniel Burton-Rose Demonic Warfare: Daoism, Territorial Networks, and the History of a Ming Novel. Mark R. E. Meulenbeld
38. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Verna Marina Ehret The Cambridge Companion to Religion and Terrorism. Edited by James R. Lewis
39. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Richard Payne Lethal Fire: The Shingon Yamāntaka Abhicāra Homa
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An important element in the ritual corpus of Shingon Buddhism, a tantric tradition in Japan, is the homa (goma, 護摩). This is a votive ritual in which offerings are made into a fire, and has roots that trace to the Vedic ritual tradition. One of the five ritual functions that the homa can fulfill is destruction, abhicāra. A destructive ritual with Yamāntaka as the chief deity is one such ritual in the contemporary Shingon ritual corpus. Consideration of this ritual provides entrée into the history of destructive practices, including violent subjugation, that date from very early in the Buddhist tradition. Exploration of this theme is offered as a balancing corrective to the modern representation of Buddhism as an exception to the violent character of other religions. However, despite the history of destructive ritual practices, the contemporary homa examined in the latter part of the essay shows very few of the characteristics found historically. This indicates an ambiguity in the tradition between a historical understanding of such rituals as literally destructive of one’s enemies, and the contemporary understanding that the enemies to be destroyed are simply personifications of one’s own obscurations.
40. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
David B. Gray The Rhetoric of Violence in the Buddhist Tantras
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This article explores the rhetoric of violence in the Buddhist tantras, arguing that it generally falls into two types: (1) violence deployed in a purely rhetorical fashion for the purpose of impressing or persuading the reader; and (2) textual depictions of violent ritual practices, which can, with some caveats, be interpreted as depictions of, and possibly prescriptions for, ritual violence. The former type often includes grandiose or exaggerated instances of hyperbolic rhetoric, often deployed for the purpose of aggrandizing the text or tradition. The article segues to discussions of descriptions of and prescriptions for ritual violence, and explores one of the justifications given for ritual violence, namely that it contributes to, or is excused by, the attainment of a spiritually advanced state of awareness called the “non-dual gnosis” (advayajñāna). Here particular attention is paid to violent rituals that involve the creation of effigies or symbolic substitutes for a sacrificial victim. These rituals, rather than involving actual violence, instead symbolically depict it. Yet these rituals are still violent insofar as they are symbolic enactments of acts of violence, and often they are performed with the goal of actually harming the victim who is symbolically represented in the ritual practice. The article concludes with an examination of a strategy for legitimizing such violence by invoking the concept of non-dual gnosis, and suggests that this ethical double standard has actually been used to excuse ethically dubious conduct by contemporary Buddhist leaders.