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God and Government
October 01, 2013
Every government on earth has its own approach to religion. Some see it as a partner, others see it as a threat. Some choose official faiths, others scorn that idea. We'll go to 14 nations around the world, meeting people whose lives have been shaped by the ways their countries balance religion and state.

Our series producers are Jocelyn Frank and Jonathan Miller, and our content consultant is Elizabeth Shakman
. We're supported by the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.
Michael Sullivan
Thailand: Cracking Down on the Monkhood
Thailand is in crisis. This summer, the military took control of the country in a dramatic coup. The king is nearing 90, and the economy is in the doldrums. And the Buddhist monkhood-- traditionally a stabilizing force in Thai society -- has been shaken by corruption and sex scandals. Now, Thailand's new military leader is pledging to root out corruption--starting in the monasteries, with Thailand's so-called 'misbehaving monks.'

Duncan McCargo, professor of political science at University of Leeds in England 
Justin McDaniel, professor of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania

Our feature story was produced by Michael Sullivan, with help from Jonathan Miller, Jocelyn Frank, and Laura Kwerel. All photos by Michael Sullivan.

Turkey: Controlling Religion in a Secular Country
The founders of modern Turkey thought the best way to keep Islam from competing with government was to take it over. Now critics say the country’s president is using his power not to control religion, but to promote the religion of the majority: Sunni Islam.

Mustafa Akyol, author of the book Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty 
Susanne Güsten, Mercator IPC Fellow with the Istanbul Policy Center

Our story was produced by Dalia Mortada, with help from Jocelyn Frank, Jonathan Miller and Laura Kwerel. 
Dalia Mortada
Turkey: The Rise of Sunni Religious Schools
This fall, Turkish media reports that as many as 40,000 non-Sunni students were automatically enrolled in Turkey's new crop of state-run Sunni schools. An Alevi Muslim student named Fatma was almost one of them. From Istanbul, Dalia Mortada brings us the story of Fatma and her family, who were faced with few options for high school.

Pictured: Fatma's mother prepares breakfast before her daugher's two-hour journey to the nearest secular school in town.

Reported by Dalia Mortada, with production help from Jocelyn Frank and Jonathan Miller

Celil Refik Kaya
Turkey: In the Studio with Guitarist Celil Refik Kaya
Celil Refik Kaya was born in Turkey and moved to Austin, Texas, to study classical guitar when he was 19. He’s also a master of the rebab, a three-stringed instrument that’s played with a bow. He came to the studio to play for us, and to explain how music can connect the listener and performer to the divine.

Celil Refik Kaya, Turkish musician and composer
Credit: francois | Flickr
France: Religion as a Threat to the Republic
If you remember anything you learned about the French Revolution -- anything that doesn’t involve cake -- it’s probably the famous three-word motto: liberty, equality, fraternity. For more than 200 years, those ideals have served as the pillars of the French Republic. While the  staunchly secular government officially recognizes all faiths as equal, it puts strict limits in those religions is sees as a threat to national identity. 

We begin our journey to France with a look at Scientology, Jehova's Witnesses and other religions the government classifies as dangerous "cults." Reporter Gerry Hadden brings us the story. Thanks to producers Jocelyn Frank and Jonathan Miller.
John Bowen, professor of sociocultural anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis
Nacira Guénif-Souilamas, professor of sociology at the University of Paris

The photos below are from our story on cults in France, all taken by Gerry Haden.