(A2-19) Transnational Religious Actors in Global Biopolitics

Democracy theory had neglected religion for a long time, or in fact had seen religion as a problem for democracy: Politics and religion should ideally be separated from each other. On the contrary, empirical evidence pointed to the importance of religion in politics and some normative approaches nowadays regarded religious arguments and religious actors as a potential to enrich the democratic discourse. Bio-political themes are (inter)nationally important and there is profound moral-ethical disagreement about whether such technologies should be allowed. Among the social groups that strongly shape the character of these debates are many religious organizations and actors. It is of specific interest of the project in what ways these actors formulate their bio-ethical positions, which kinds of reasons they give to validate their positions within the political process and how they influence politics and political actors. The comparison of four case studies (Germany, USA, Ireland, Great Britain) shows that the political regulation of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, cloning and embryonic stem cell research and the use of religious arguments in the public sphere decisively depends on the different historical setups of the countries. What is crucial is the historical relationship of religion and politics, the grade of secularization and the argumentative resources of the different Christian denominations.