Dr. Andrew Wender PhD was our guest, speaking on Critical Reflections on Religion and Global Conflict.
Tom Zolnay introduced Andrew Wender who has a PhD from U Vic and a J.D. from Seattle University School of Law.
Dr Wender gave a talk on the same topic in 2009, at which time he was an apologist for religion.  Since then he has adjusted his attitude to neither praise nor condemn religion.  He feels that some sensationalism and fear-mongering contributed to the election results last night. We assume that "religion" is an entity. What's in a word can be a big deal. There is an idea that religion is a belief and is private and individual.  We need to rethink the meaning of the word. 
For several centuries the state , as an institution, has used religion to promote power and violence. The events of last night make people think about what forms of religion are legitimate. Mimetic violence stems from viewing people other than ourselves and wanting what they have.  Scapegoating occurs when we find a third party and blame them for the conflict.  Conflict often involves a struggle over alternate forms of identity (religious, ethnic, etc.) .
In looking for solutions to conflict, he proposes some things to keep in mind.  Fundamentalist forms of dogmatism are very suspect ways of thinking.  Political arrangements need to privilege a notion of common humanity and at the same time recognize the reality of the agonistic struggle among many human differences. We need to avoid repetition of the neo-colonial approach of superimposing new orders on people.
Politicians often use "other' to coalesce their side against a common enemy. We need to find ways of forming political communities that don't depend on inclusion and exclusion.  The strategy of "join with we because we are in danger, our way of life is threatened" is used to legitimize violence.
Gerry Kelly thanked Dr. Wender and presented him with a card and a gift of sight given in his name to a child in India.