20. Benign Religion as Normal Religion

Hijacked - A Critical Treatment of the Public Rhetoric of Good and Bad Religion - Leslie Dorrough Smith

Suzanne Owen [+-]
Leeds Trinity University
Suzanne Owen is a senior lecturer in religious studies at Leeds Trinity University, UK. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh and researches contemporary indigenous and pagan religions.


This essay discusses a small controversy in the 2010s about the acceptance of Druidry into the Inter Faith Network UK. The example shows how government commissions and organisations are in the business of domesticating religion, leading groups like the Druids to conform to “liberal Protestant” ideas of religion. In the classroom, the discussion of NRMs, Pagans, and other marginal groups often contrasts them to the ‘classical’ world religions, making it hard to question underlying assumptions about how religion as a category is rendered. Instead of ‘religious literacy’ in the ‘great traditions’ built on a theological model, what is needed, according to the author, is ‘religion literacy’, or an understanding of the construction of ‘religion’ as a category and the interests served by these processes.

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Owen, Suzanne. 20. Benign Religion as Normal Religion. Hijacked - A Critical Treatment of the Public Rhetoric of Good and Bad Religion. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Jul 2020. ISBN 9781781797273. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=35437. Date accessed: 23 Jan 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.35437. Jul 2020

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