Tag Archives: families

Book Review of Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom in Journal of Markets & Morality

I am grateful to Prof. Jan Klos Hab. Ph.D. for taking the effort to write a review of my book for the Journal of Markets & Morality.

Jan Klos is a Professor at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland, Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Particular Ethics. He specializes in the history of social and political doctrines. Courses taught include philosophical foundations of political doctrines, foundations of American democracy, and political system of America.

In the review, Klos raises several interesting points regarding the book, to which I hope to respond some other time.

On p. 206, Prof. Klos writes:

‘The author does well to stress the importance of such nonstate actors as families and schools in the efforts to check the power of the state. Political and legal constitutionalism collaborate, as we know, in the separation between the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary. This kind of separation, however, does not in and of itself suffice for a mature civil society to be formed. I think that this point should be especially emphasized. With regard to constitutionalism and the right to freedom of religion or belief, more is needed than separation of political and legal powers. As Professor ten Napel writes, one should also “acknowledge that a communal dimension to this right exists” (148).’

The review ends as follows:

‘To sum up, the book Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom: To Be Fully Human is a well-written text on such important issues for contemporary societies as freedom of religion or belief in its communal form, freedom of conscience, and civic activity. It attempts to show an integral approach to the human being. This integral approach should strive to create such an ethos in which a full development of the human being is possible. By a full development is meant such a condition in which this being can manifest his or her beliefs not only within the privacy of his or her home but also in public without any fear of oppression or discrimination. If citizens are forced to hide their religious views, they are doomed to be inauthentic selves, and will always feel a kind of schizophrenia.’

You can read the whole review here:


‘Journal of Markets & Morality is a peer-reviewed academic journal published by the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. The journal promotes intellectual exploration of the relationship between economics and morality from both social science and theological perspectives.’

See also:

Review of book on ‘Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human’

Boekbespreking van Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human in Radix. Tijdschrift over geloof, wetenschap en samenleving

Press Release: ‘Hans-Martien ten Napel has book published “Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human”’

Blogpost on ‘Freedom of associations’

A blogpost by Professor C. Scott Pryor of Regent University School of Law on the above topic generously makes mention of my recent, co-authored article on ‘The State, Civil Society and Religious Freedom’.

From the blogpost:

‘Rights of associations–churches, families, organizations, etc.– are an increasingly important concept as the depth of legal penetration by modern States grows ever greater. The “contraceptive mandate” of the recent health care law is an example of this problem in America: Will associations, outside a narrow understanding of “religious” ones, be required to provide health insurance coverage inconsistent with their formative understandings?’

Read the full blogpost, with several links to Pryor’s own work in the field, at http://pryorthoughts.blogspot.nl/2013/01/freedom-of-associations.html.

Article in Oxford Journal of Law and Religion on ‘The State, Civil Society and Religious Freedom’

The free link to the above article, that I co-authored with Jaco van den Brink, is: http://ojlr.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/rws043?

The abstract of the article reads as follows:

‘How is the legal principle of religious freedom supposed to regulate the relationship between state and religion, especially in cases where state and religion seem to make competing claims? This article argues that, in order to fully appreciate this complex relationship, we need to reflect on the proper place of the state within society. In both the Catholic and the Reformed lines of thought it has traditionally been emphasized that society doesn’t consist merely of individuals and a state. There are also a variety of institutions (eg families and civil society organizations) providing different, yet equally necessary, goods. Applying this way of thinking about the state in a theory on religious freedom, provides a distinctive and promising theoretical point of view and is more likely to guarantee adequate protection in a range of current religious freedom cases in both Europe and the United States than the dominant individual autonomy perspective.’

The URL in this post currently takes you to the Advance Access version of our paper. Once the article appears in a paginated issue, the link will automatically lead to the latest version.