The French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in his book The Social Contract, coined the term Civil Religion. He asserted that “no State has ever been founded without a religious basis,” yet every state should show religious tolerance to everyone. In its more modern interpretation, Civil Religion superficially and dangerously misused religious symbols in the name of national and nationalistic causes. One example thereof can be found in the ill-fated speech that former U.S. President George Bush gave in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Bush referred to the U.S.’s “war on terrorism” as a crusade, which provided clear and scary insight into his perceptions of the world. The call of Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel and his associates to build the third Jewish temple on Temple Mount in Jerusalem, is another reminder of the terrifying prospects of mobilising religion to serve an extreme-nationalistic Judgement Day vision. He and his allies, such as the Nemanei Har Habait (Temple Mount Devotees), know that any change in the long standing status quo of sacred places in Jerusalem would inflame relations between Muslims and Jews not only in Jerusalem, but around the world. This is most likely their goal, as they entertain the preposterous belief that divinity is on their side and hence they will gain the upper hand.
Aggravating a situation which is extremely volatile is a folly, which deserves condemnation in the clearest of termsYossi Mekelberg