Humanitarian Disasters and the Rise of Globalized Religious Philanthropy

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Religious organizations have played an increasingly important role in development aid. In studies in development sociology, their participation has been described as a shift to religion, a trend that emerged in the 1980s with regard to the West (Tomalin 2013). This turning point recognizes the investment of religious organizations in the field. These, after all, are in direct contact with the immediate situation of local populations. At the same time, this turning point considers the religious life of the actors concerned, namely humanitarian workers and their partner communities (Clarke, 2013). In recent years, religious organizations have also been instrumental in responding to disasters. In some cases, they appear, in the eyes of the disaster victims, as more effective and more energetic than other humanitarian organizations, or even than the State itself (Fanany and Fanany 2013). The global reach of their humanitarian aid cannot be overemphasized.
Our article is part of this special issue of Diogenes on religion and global history by understanding the rise of globalized religious philanthropy in its relation to disasters. Our goal is therefore not limited to identifying the various interventions of local religious organizations in their respective contexts, where there is urgency. We prefer to take a global perspective. Global religious philanthropy refers to the transnational activities of religious organizations aiming to remedy humanitarian crises…