Acton University, June 20-23 2017, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Looking forward to participating in this year’s Acton University.

‘What is Acton University?

  • Four days that integrate sound economics, business, philosophy, theology, and intellectual history
  • A customized learning plan that you create: featuring over 120 courses taught by over 80 experts: an international, world class faculty
  • An exploration of the intellectual foundations of freedom, and respect for the dignity and value of the human person
  • A place to learn about the classical foundations of economics, philosophy, theology, liberty and how they apply to our culture today
  • A unique educational experience enabling you to lead with a greater understanding of the intersection of liberty and morality
  • An international, ecumenical network of attendees helping you to apply your knowledge in shaping culture towards a free and virtuous society’

Source, and more information, and registration: http://university.acton.org/about-au.

Acton University is organized by the Acton Institute, ‘a think-tank whose mission is to promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles’. See https://acton.org.

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Public Lecture by Professor Brett Scharffs on ‘Why Religious Freedom’, April 7, 15.00h, Free University, Amsterdam

UPDATE: For location, and registration, see here: http://centre-religion-law.org/nl/actueel/50-lezing-why-religous-freedom-7-april.

The full title of the paper which Professor Brett Scharffs will present, is: ‘Why Religious Freedom? Why the Religiously Committed, the Religiously Indifferent and Those Hostile to Religion Should Care’.

The abstract of the paper reads as follows:

‘Religious freedom: Is it the grandparent of human rights, or the neglected stepchild? As with most false dichotomies, the answer is both. But it is also the underappreciated core, or tap root, of human rights. Why should we care about religious freedom? For the seeker of religious truth, the answer may be obvious: Religious freedom creates the conditions, the “constitutional space,” for investigation and the pursuit of truth. But what about those who fall into other groups? What about the religiously committed – who are confident they are in possession of religious truth. Or the religiously indifferent – who are not much interested in religion or spirituality. Or those who are affirmatively hostile to religion – those who believe religion does more harm than good. Should they – should we – care about religious freedom? There are three reasons why we should all care deeply about freedom of religion (and belief). First, is the role of religious freedom as a historical foundation for constitutional, political, civil and human rights. Without freedom of religion and belief (FORB), the entire human rights project may collapse from its own weight. Second, FORB is necessary if we are to resist statism and other monistic views of state power. And third, we may not have the intellectual, political or rhetorical resources to defend conscience if we do not respect and protect FORB.’

You can read the full paper here: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2911086##.

Brett G. Scharffs is Francis R. Kirkham Professor of Law at Brigham Young University Law School, and was appointed Director of the Law School’s International Center for Law and Religion Studies effective May 1, 2016.

The lecture is organized by the Centre for Religion and Law, a collaboration between the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Theology of the VU University Amsterdam, and the newly formed Netherlands Law and Religion Scholars Network.

For more information (in Dutch) on the Centre for Religion and Law and the Netherlands Law and Religion Scholars Network, see http://centre-religion-law.org/nl/.

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Upcoming Speaking Engagement at Wageningen University & Research: ‘Religion and the Public Realm’

‘Studium Generale explores whether there is such a thing as a “religiously neutral state”. When it comes to religion, how do states’ approaches to secularization shape where “private” and “public” realms begin?

Georganiseerd door Studium Generale
Datum di 18 april 2017
Tijd 20:00
Locatie Impulse, gebouwnummer 115
Stippeneng 2
6708 WE
Wageningen
0317 48 28 28

Where does “private” end and “public” begin when it comes to religion? To explore this, we look at how states’ approaches to secularization have been shaped. Is there such a thing as a “religiously neutral state”?  What tensions have been at the root of the way states position themselves in relation to religion in the public sphere? Dr. Hans-Martien ten Napel will draw on examples from Europe and elsewhere around the world. His accent will be on the case of Great Britain where frameworks were proposed for accommodating differences and diversity in the public realm. Taking political traditions into account, he will explore religion in the public realm from an interdisciplinary perspective.’

Source, and more information: https://www.wur.nl/nl/activiteit/SG-activity-Religion-and-the-Public-Realm-1.htm.

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Mini-Symposium: Global Democratic Decline?

‘Op woensdag 12 april 2017 zal Res Publica van 15:00 tot 17:00 uur een mini-symposium organiseren op het Kamerlingh Onnes Gebouw (KOG, A0.51) over het gegeven dat wereldwijd het aantal democratieën afneemt. Wat betekent deze ontwikkeling voor de rechtsstaat? Hoe is het gesteld met het vertrouwen in de democratie? Is de directe democratie een alternatief voor de representatieve democratie? Onder meer deze vragen staan centraal tijdens dit symposium. Onze gastsprekers zullen zijn Hans-Martien ten Napel, Charlotte Wagenaar en Geerten Waling. Na afloop zal er een borrel zijn in Café de Keyzer.

Het programma zal er als volgt uit zien:

Lezing 1: Hans-Martien ten Napel zal ingaan op de vraag wat er misgaat met de democratie in verschillende landen en dan voornamelijk vanuit vergelijkend-staatsrechtelijk perspectief. Wat betekenen de huidige ontwikkelingen in de wereld voor de rechtsstaat? Hierbij worden twee recente rapporten van resp. The Economist en Freedom House gebruikt.

Lezing 2: Geerten Waling zal een lezing verzorgen over de democratie vanuit politicologisch oogpunt. Hoe zit het met het vertrouwen in de democratie? Zitten de partijen niet voornamelijk in een crisis?

Lezing 3: Charlotte Wagenaar zal ingaan op  de ervaring die zij heeft in het Verenigd Koninkrijk. Als verkiezingswaarnemer was zij aanwezig bij zowel het onafhankelijkheidsreferendum in Schotland, als bij de Brexit. Naast haar praktische ervaring, zal zij tevens nader ingaan op de vraag of een directe democratie een goed alternatief is voor een representatieve democratie.

Hierna zal er uiteraard ruimte zijn voor discussie. Wij hopen u allen te mogen verwelkomen op woensdag 12 april 2017!

N.B. Voor leden van Res Publica zal er een certificaatpunt te verdienen zijn. Indien u daarvoor in aanmerking wenst te komen, verzoeken wij u om een e-mail te sturen naar respub@law.leidenuniv.nl.’

Bron: http://www.respublicaleiden.nl/actueel/mini-symposium-global-democratic-decline/.

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Bijdrage over ‘Verrechtsing van het CDA’ t.b.v. De Hofvijver (Montesquieu Instituut)

UPDATE: Een licht bewerkte versie van de bijdrage is op woensdag 29 maart 2017 ook verschenen in het Nederlands Dagblad, onder de titel ‘Het CDA is onder Buma op de oude CHU gaan lijken’: https://www.nd.nl/nieuws/opinie/het-cda-is-onder-buma-op-de-oude-chu-gaan-lijken.2635413.lynkx.

‘Is het CDA onder Sybrand Buma werkelijk zo verrechtst? Of komt er uit wat er altijd al in zat? Een evaluatie.’

Lees de gehele bijdrage, getiteld ‘De diepere betekenis van de winst van het CDA’, hier: http://www.montesquieu-instituut.nl/9353000/1/j9vvj72dlowskug/vkcrdb7w58yx.

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Article ‘Princeton Seminary Reforms Its Views on Honoring Tim Keller’

‘The most popular Reformed preacher and author in America today is not eligible to receive Princeton Theological Seminary’s annual award in Reformed theology and public witness.

The mainline seminary reversed its decision to honor Tim Keller with a prize named for neo-Calvinist theologian Abraham Kuyper following outcry over the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA) pastor’s conservative positions.

Princeton president Craig Barnes announced the news in a letter released Wednesday morning.’

Read the whole article in Christianity Today here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2017/march/princeton-rescinds-tim-keller-kuyper-prize-women-ordination.html.

In my forthcoming book on Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human, I write that there is an increasing academic fascination with cities, both in theology and law and political science, and rightly so. The reason for this lies without doubt in part in the prognosis that during the 21st century globally ever more people will be living in cities. As a result, the urge is felt to develop a theology for the city, with the help of which urban populations can be reached.

An example is provided by the ministry of Tim Keller in New York City. His Redeemer Presbyterian Church, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2014 and can already in many ways be regarded as a success story, recently adopted an even more ambitious plan to reach a still larger part of the population of Manhattan. Also more in general, New York City can, contrary to what many people would expect, best be characterised as a religiously vibrant place.

This is the eleventh post in a new series introducing my new book.

For the first ten posts, please see:

Yale Law Professor: ‘American courts are tackling Islamophobia – why won’t Europeans?’

Waarom de PVV niet het initiatief in de kabinetsformatie moet krijgen

New Book: ‘The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation’ (2017)

R.R. Reno on ‘Islam and America’

Michael Wear’s Reclaiming Hope (2017): ‘Learn How the Seeds of the Trump Presidency Were Sown in the Obama White House’

Major New Report by the National Secular Society: Rethinking Religion and Belief in Public Life

Symposium on Christian Democracy and America: ‘Can Christian Democracy Be America’s Next European Import?’

Journalist Ben Judah, Author of This is London (2016): ‘I Found Faith Everywhere’

The Washington Post on Why Religious Freedom Could Become the Major Religion Story of 2017

Book on Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human (Routledge) now available for pre-order.

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Blogpost ‘The State of Dutch Democracy: Dancing on the Deck of the Titanic?’

The state of Dutch democracy is uncertain. After last week’s elections, the stability of the political system appears guaranteed for the next couple of years. We cannot be sure, however, what will happen afterwards. This marks a change from the past.

Read the whole blogpost here: http://leidenlawblog.nl/articles/the-state-of-dutch-democracy-dancing-on-the-deck-of-the-titanic.

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Yale Law Professor: ‘American courts are tackling Islamophobia – why won’t Europeans?’

‘On both sides of the Atlantic, courts this week have addressed the relationship of Islam to the west, but with radically different approaches and outcomes. In the US, federal courts in Hawaii and Maryland have halted Donald Trump’s second attempt at a Muslim ban. Meanwhile, the European court of justice, Europe’s highest court, has upheld the right of private employers to ban Muslim women from wearing headscarves.

American and European law each embrace principles of religious neutrality and non-discrimination, but the divergent application of those laws reflects different levels of discomfort with religion generally and a demographic anxiety with Islam in particular.’

Read here the rest of this article by Muneer I Ahmad in the Guardian of 17th March 2017: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/17/islamophobia-most-worrying-europe-not-trumps-america.

Muneer I Ahmad is Clinical Professor of Law at Yale Law School and co-director of the Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic, which was co-counsel on the first case to challenge the original Muslim Ban.

My forthcoming book on Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human (Routledge) is comparative, among other things, in the sense that it sometimes points towards differences and similarities between Europe and North America, be it not in a systematic manner. As such, it notes that in Europe respect for the fundamental right of freedom of religion or belief appears to have been eroding for quite some time, certainly in some of the courts.

This is the tenth post in a new series introducing this book.

For the first nine posts, please see:

Waarom de PVV niet het initiatief in de kabinetsformatie moet krijgen

New Book: ‘The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation’ (2017)

R.R. Reno on ‘Islam and America’

Michael Wear’s Reclaiming Hope (2017): ‘Learn How the Seeds of the Trump Presidency Were Sown in the Obama White House’

Major New Report by the National Secular Society: Rethinking Religion and Belief in Public Life

Symposium on Christian Democracy and America: ‘Can Christian Democracy Be America’s Next European Import?’

Journalist Ben Judah, Author of This is London (2016): ‘I Found Faith Everywhere’

The Washington Post on Why Religious Freedom Could Become the Major Religion Story of 2017

Book on Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human (Routledge) now available for pre-order

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Lezing: ‘Why Religous Freedom?’ op 7 april a.s.

UPDATE: Professor Neville Rochow SC is helaas verhinderd, de lezing van Prof. Scharffs gaat gewoon door.

‘Het Centrum voor Religie en Recht en het onderzoekersnetwerk Religie en Recht nodigen u graag uit voor een vrijdagmiddaglezing op 7 april 2017 met als spreker professor Brett Gilbert Scharffs, Francis R. Kirkham Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs at the J. Reuben Clark Law School of Brigham Young University (BYU), daar is hij ook Associate Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies.

Het onderwerp van de lezing van professor Scharffs zal zijn: ‘Why Religious Freedom? Why the Religiously Committed and the Religiously Indifferent Should Care’. Voorafgaand aan de lezing zal professor Neville Rochow SC een korte inleiding geven over het werk van eerdergenoemd centrum waaraan hij als Senior International Fellow verbonden is. Professor Rochow is European Union Government Relations Representative van The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Brussel, en daarnaast onder meer lid van het bestuur van de Research Unit for the Study of Society, Law and Religion aan Adelaide Law School, Australië. De bijeenkomst begint om 15.00 uur (14.30 uur inloop). Op de website van het Centrum voor Religie en Recht (www.religie-recht.nl) treft u de exacte locatie en routebeschrijving aan. De bijeenkomst wordt om 16.30 uur afgesloten met een netwerkborrel.

De voertaal van de lezing is Engels.’

Voor de bron, en meer informatie (waaronder een flyer), zie: http://centre-religion-law.org/en/actueel/50-lezing-why-religous-freedom-9-april.

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Blogpost ‘Something Fundamental is at Stake in the Dutch Parliamentary Elections’

Geert Wilders’ PVV Party believes that Islam is a totalitarian ideology and not a religion, and thus Muslims are not equally entitled to the same freedom of religion or belief as other believers. This view is incompatible with liberal democracy.

Read the whole blogpost here: http://leidenlawblog.nl/articles/something-fundamental-is-at-stake-in-the-dutch-parliamentary-elections.

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