It is no surprise that after a generation of political scientists was trained to ignore religion (as we argued in part I of this article), our current diplomacy takes a similarly myopic approach. On February 10th, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a congressional committee that the Islamic Brotherhood is a "largely secular" organization. With equal glibness, other analysts have declared that the Brotherhood is a scary sect waiting to establish a violent theocracy. Others just can't think calmly or coherently when any kind of religion appears on the horizon. When the Washington Post's David Ignatius was in Tahrir Square for the February 18th "Victory March," he found the mere sight of ordinary Egyptians staging mass prayers "unnerving." Such is the subtlety of our secularist outlooks, which regard religious people either as not really religious at all or else as necessarily irrational, violent, and frightening.
Shah, Timothy, Daniel Philpott, and Monica Toft. "God and Democratic Diplomacy." Public Discourse, May 18, 2011.