Religion: A Missing Component of Professional Military Education
ARMY WAR COLLEGE CARLISLE BARRACKS PA PEACEKEEPING AND STABILITY OPERATIONS INSTITUTE
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Thomas Matyok s monograph on religion dares us as military planners and conflict analysts to think more deeply about religion. Since religion can be a major driver of both peace and violence, Prof. Matyok argues we need to do better in recognizing how religious factors play out in shaping human motivations and aspirations in conflict situations. Prof. Matyok s contention is a new idea for U.S. professional military education but draws on older intellectual currents. The eighteenth century French philosophe Voltaire believed that France began slipping down a dangerous slope of repression and intolerance after Louis the XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes in 1685. This Edict issued by Henry IV in 1598 granted Protestants substantial rights in a nation considered to be basically Catholic. The revocation not only drove a Protestant exodus and stoked up the hostility of Protestant nations bordering France but set in motion wider forces of social intolerance that eventually spilled over into the French Revolution and beyond. When Louis XVI restored Protestant civil rights and freedom to worship in 1787, his act was widely seen as too little, too late. French society decisively overthrew the monarchical regime two years later for that and many other grievances. The revocation of the Edict of Nantes echoes down as an historical warning today. Most national leaders and peace keepers seem convinced that religious tolerance and inter-faith respect are now key to maintaining religion s trajectory towards peace. The creation of an autonomous region in Mindanao, Philippines appears to be one institutionalized answer to the creation of more space and tolerance for religious diversity and more peaceful competition in secular and sacred spaces. Prof. Matyok s work also speaks to Samuel Huntington s assertion that the fundamental source of conflict in the twenty-first century will not be primarily ideological or economic but cultural.
- Humanities and History
- Military Forces and Organizations