America’s evangelical right has chosen Donald Trump, who hardly even pays lip service to having faith.
In Refusing the Veil, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has written a socially conservative book that is dressed up as a liberal feminist manifesto. Rather than challenging the prejudice Muslim women face, Alibhai-Brown provides the ultimate insider’s reassurance that such emotions are warranted and legitimate.
The piece is an attempt to see the Passion through the eyes of the women who surrounded Jesus, with particular emphasis on Mary Magdalene.
Mecca was the city of Sardar’s childhood dreams, the ideal Muslim polity of humility and submission to God, and a community of faith. Today, under Saudi rule, it has been “remade in the image of . . . wealth and imperial splendour”.
Whether you choose the religious terminology of sin or the secular language of social harm, it is clear that banks have not been helping the poor but have focused on the wealthy few.
There is a tendency among the devoutly religious to venerate what to them seems “natural” – or God-given. But the story of religion is one of retreat in the face of science’s relentless advance.
There is a sense that, in recent years, novelists have formed part of a rearguard action in response to Richard Dawkins’s New Atheist consensus. Philip Maughan talks to Marilynne Robinson, Francis Spufford and Rowan Williams about God in literature.
To his surprise, Jonny Yaxley, a former landscaper, found he enjoyed the craftsmanship involved in preparing a perfect grave. And he liked learning about the lives of the deceased.
We are in a future that is mostly just like the present. This isn’t the world of The Jetsons: Peter and his wife Bea shop in Tesco, have a cat called Joshua, drive a regular old car and read the Daily Express.
The poppy hijabs have become a politically correct way of airing a suspicion that all Muslims are “basically terrorist sympathisers”. The wearing – or not wearing – of a patriotic hijab becomes a shrouded loyalty test.
Robinson’s trilogy set in small-town Christian America is more than great fiction – it is a political and ethical project.
We notice you have ad blocking software enabled. Support the New Statesman’s quality, independent journalism by contributing now — and this message will disappear for the next 30 days.
If we cannot support the site on advertising revenue, we will have to introduce a pay wall — meaning fewer readers will have access to our incisive analysis, comprehensive culture coverage and groundbreaking long reads.