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Abstract

Although a large amount of scholarly and popular attention has been devoted to understanding the relationship between religion and violence, comparatively less attention has been paid to the relationship between religion and peace. Yet, there are many reasons to believe that religion can be a powerful force for peacemaking. Qualitative research indicates that religious leaders and religious people are often credible peace brokers who are respected in their communities, have ready access to cultural peace-promoting concepts like reconciliation and forgiveness, and may be motivated by non-partisan factors like fulfilling religious obligations or furthering God’s will. Despite this promising research, little large-scale quantitative data has yet been collected from individuals engaged in peacemaking. In this study, the relationship between religion and peacemaking is explored using survey data collected from 171 international peacemakers, the majority of whom are Christian and white. The results indicate that religion influences peacemaking in at least two non-mutually exclusive ways: through motivating religious individuals to participate in peacemaking and through the use of religious tactics by those engaged in peacemaking. Through both means, religion influences commitment to continuing peacemaking, subjective evaluations of success by peacemakers, and hope for success in the future.

Author Bio(s)

Rebecca A. Glazier is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Affairs at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a member of the Middle Eastern Studies Program faculty. Her research agenda addresses issues of religion, framing, and U.S. foreign policy. She is particularly interested in how religion motivates political action, and has published research on the role of providential religious beliefs in the process. She can be reached at raglazier@ualr.edu.

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