In this chapter I discuss the nexus of religion, politics, and violence through an examination of modern fascism and totalitarianism as viewed by Hannah Arendt in her various works, including The Origins of Totalitarianism (first published in 1948; Arendt 1979) and On Violence (1970). For Arendt, the conflation and equivalency of the Holocaust and the Gulag were fundamental to understanding modern politics. This put her at odds with many who saw the Holocaust as a problem grounded in anti-Semitism, and the Gulag as a problem inherent in Stalinism operating as an offshoot of structural Marxism. Arendt's view, similar to a later view taken up by a diverse group of thinkers and writers from Zygmunt Bauman (1992) to Imre Kertész (2004), from Theodore Adorno (1973) to Giorgio Agamben (1998), sought to demonstrate the capacity with which modern systems of politics had built, rather than inherited, a kind of homo sacer or "internal exile" as a legal category. This legal category then would ensure there is a sacred, but not necessarily religious, aspect to modern politics. One way to achieve this triumph of the secular-legal state is to claim that both religion and clan affiliation are antimodern, and secularization and the creation of a civic polity are the path to modernization.
The Blackwell Companion to Religion and Violence p. 343-353