‘In this unvarnished account of faith inside the world’s most powerful office, Michael Wear provides unprecedented insight into the highs and lows of working as a Christian in government. Reclaiming Hope is an insider’s view of the most controversial episodes of the Obama administration, from the president’s change of position on gay marriage and the transformation of religious freedom into a partisan idea, to the administration’s failure to find common ground on abortion and the bitter controversy over who would give the benediction at the 2012 inauguration.’
The thing that without doubt has struck me most during my fellowship is how relatively fast and comprehensively the right to freedom of religion or belief has indeed already come under pressure across the West, at least in theory. It is difficult to give a single and clear-cut explanation for this. One important factor is without doubt the political polarisation that has come to be associated with religious freedom. Thus, Democrats blame Republicans for claiming a near-monopoly with respect to the right to freedom of religion or belief, thereby interpreting it in a conservative manner when it comes to topics such as same-sex marriage. On their part, as they themselves would be the first to admit, the Obama administration has not always dealt in a sensitive manner with issues regarding the inclusion of abortion and anticonception in the healthcare legislation it has introduced.
This is the sixth post in a new series introducing my forthcoming book on Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To be Fully Human (Routledge, 2017).
About the book:
‘The purpose of this volume is to compare the experiences of state efforts to control moral behavior in two countries (The Netherlands and the United States of America) by exploring the historical developments in regulating morality and the contemporary efforts to implement moral policies. The volume opens with an overview of the theoretical and historical setting of the debate about moral developments in the Netherlands and the United States. Various hypotheses are then tested by comparing the histories of prostitution and abortion policies in both countries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the jurisprudence and legislation with respect to euthanasia, and the course and contents of family law (divorce, adoption, homo marriage). Apart from the comparative aspect, these case studies are highly informative and fascinating to read in and by themselves.’
Table of contents:
‘Preface (Paul Cliteur) On Common Patterns and Compelling Differences: Introduction to Regulating Morality (Hans Krabbendam and Hans-Martien ten Napel) Part I Historical and Theoretical Framework The Moral State: How Much Do the Americans and the Dutch Differ? (James Kennedy) Legal Moralism, Liberal Legalism, and the Tangled Web of Law and Morality (Paul C.M. van Seters) Dutch Democracy: The Burden of the Sixties (Paul Cliteur and René van Wissen) The Ancients, the Moderns, and Morality (Andreas Kinneging) Part II Prostitution A Short History of American Prostitution and Prostitution Policy (David J. Langum) The History of Policing Prostitution in Amsterdam (Lotte van de Pol) Part III Abortion Cultural Individualism, Marginalized Policy, and Abortion in the United States (Raymond Tatalovich) Abortion in the Netherlands: The Successful Pacification of a Controversial Issue (Joyce Outshoorn) Part IV Euthanasia The Euthanasia Debate in the United States: Conflicting Claims about the Netherlands (Margaret P. Battin) Self-Regulation by the Dutch Medical Profession of Medical Behavior that Potentially Shortens Life (John Griffiths) Part V Family Law A Rendez-Vous in the Marketplace?: Transformations in Family Law in the United States (Janet L. Dolgin) The Influence of the 1960s on Developments in Family Law in the United States and the Netherlands (Gerda A. Kleijkamp) Notes on Contributors.’