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God on our side? The church of England and the geopolitics of mourning 9/11

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Nick MegoranORCiD


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Political geographers have been surprisingly slow to engage with the importance of religion in contemporary international relations. Informed by theories of critical geopolitics, this paper addresses this failure by considering the Church of England's immediate response to the Al-Qaeda attacks in the USA on 11 September 2001. Focusing on a national service of remembrance held at St. Paul's Cathedral on September 14, it argues that the service was both an expression of grief at a shocking tragedy, and a (geo)political commentary. Occurring at a crucial moment of public debate about how to understand and respond to '9/11', the service scripted a geopolitical text that resonated with voices that were advocating a military response. The article undertakes a discursive reading of the service and its coverage by journalists, and uses interviews with key organisers to analyse its production. It concludes that although the organisers of the service strove to create what they considered to be an apolitical event, the service became part of a process of geopolitical scripting that made the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq more likely, and alternative peaceful responses to the crisis of 9/11 less likely. It calls on the Church of England to reconsider this aspect of its engagement with international affairs, by listening to non-Western Anglican perspectives, and political geographers to interrogate more systematically the intersections of religion and the 'war on terror'.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Megoran N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Geopolitics

Year: 2006

Volume: 11

Issue: 4

Pages: 561-579

Print publication date: 01/12/2006

ISSN (print): 1465-0045

ISSN (electronic): 1557-3028

URL: .http;//

DOI: 10.1080/14650040600890735


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