Tag Archives: freedom of conscience and religion

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:

http://www.marketsandmorality.com/index.php/mandm/issue/view/43

‘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”’

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/.