Upcoming Speaking Engagement: 24th Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 1-4 October 2017

 

‘The International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) is honored to announce the distinguished keynote speaker for the 24th Annual International Law and Religion Symposium — “Religion and Religious Freedom in a Changing World” — to be held 1-4 October 2017 at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. András Sajó, Hungarian scholar and former Judge of the European Court of Human Rights, and Ján Figeľ, the European Commission’s Special Envoy for promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the European Union, will speak at the opening session of the Symposium, to be held on Sunday evening, October 1, in the Moot Court Room (303) of the J. Reuben Clark Law School.

The opening session will be streamed live, beginning at 7 pm MST (UTC-7), to listeners worldwide. Interpretation at the venue will be available in 11 languages: Arabic, French, Italian, Korean, Laotian, Mongolian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.

Please note that, due to space limitations, the Symposium is open to invited participants only. However, all plenary sessions and other sessions held in Room 303 JRCB will be streamed live, and audio and video recordings of other sessions will be available soon after the event on the Center’s website and on YouTube.  (See recordings from Symposium 2016 here.)’

Source, and more information:

Symposium 2017: “Religion and Religious Freedom in a Changing World”

See also:

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

Article ‘This Map Of The State Of Religious Freedom Around The World Is Chilling’

 

Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human now also available as eBook

See:

eBook (VitalSource)

Kindle (Amazon)

Table of Contents

Introduction

1. In Medias Res: Communal Religious Freedom under Pressure

2. Social Pluralist Constitutionalism

3. Pluriform Democracy

4. A Generous Conception of Religious Freedom

Conclusion: “A Horizon of Beauty”

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/.

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.

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

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‘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.’

Source: https://www.amazon.com/Reclaiming-Hope-Lessons-Learned-America/dp/071808232X/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=.

See for more information on both author and book: http://michaelwear.com.

In my forthcoming book, I write:

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).

For the first five posts, please see:

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

 

 

Presentation during Cardiff Festival for Law and Religion

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‘The Cardiff Festival of Law and Religion on May 5th and 6th at Cardiff University celebrates the twenty-fifth anniversary of the LLM in Canon Law at Cardiff University, the first degree of its type in a British University since the Reformation.

A number of events are being held to reflect upon how the study of Law and Religion has developed over the last twenty-five years and the likely future trajectory. This includes the 2016 Law and Religion Scholars Network (LARSN) Conference, a keynote address by Professor David Little, a celebratory dinner and the launch of F Cranmer, M Hill, C Kenny and R Sandberg (ed) The Confluence of Law and Religion: Interdisciplinary Reflections on the Work of Norman Doe (Cambridge University Press, 2016).’

My own presentation was entitled: ‘The “New Critics of Religious Freedom” and the Inspiration they Unintentionally Provide’.

The summary of the paper reads as follows:

The ‘New Critics of Religious Freedom’ have become increasingly vocal of late. The first part of the paper will summarise their main criticisms, some of which contain a considerable amount of truth, such as that the right to freedom of religion or belief has historically been heavily influenced by Christianity in general and Protestantism in particular.

The second part of the paper will argue that at first sight there also appears to be one major downside to the criticisms. As it turns out to be hardly possible to isolate the right to freedom of religion or belief from the general idea of a democratic constitutional state, what the critics are really questioning is the current state of Western liberal democracy as a whole.

The third part of the paper will propose that the reason for this close connection between religious freedom and the democratic constitutional state lies in the fact that the latter has clearly been influenced by Christianity as well. Still, the new critics of religious freedom may on closer inspection also serve as a source of inspiration for a necessary, theologically driven reform of some of the central tenets of liberal democracy as it has developed in recent decades.

For more information, see: http://www.law.cf.ac.uk/clr/networks/The%20Cardiff%20Festival%20for%20Law%20and%20Religion%20Full%20Programme.pdf.

Upcoming Speaking Engagement: The Cardiff Festival of Law and Religion 2016

logo                      clr_logo

‘Registration is now open for the Cardiff Festival of Law and Religion on May 5th and 6th at Cardiff University. This celebrates the twenty-fifth anniversary of the LLM in Canon Law at Cardiff University, the first degree of its type in a British University since the Reformation.

A number of events are being held to reflect upon how the study of Law and Religion has developed over the last twenty-five years and the likely future trajectory. This includes the 2016 Law and Religion Scholars Network (LARSN) Conference, a keynote address by Professor David Little, a celebratory dinner and the launch of F Cranmer, M Hill, C Kenny and R Sandberg (ed) The Confluence of Law and Religion: Interdisciplinary Reflections on the Work of Norman Doe (Cambridge University Press, 2016).’

The paper I will be presenting is entitled: ‘The “New Critics of Religious Freedom” and the Inspiration they Unintentionally Provide’:

The ‘New Critics of Religious Freedom’ have become increasingly vocal of late. The first part of the proposed paper will summarise their main criticisms, some of which contain a considerable amount of truth, such as that the right to freedom of religion or belief has historically been heavily influenced by Christianity in general and Protestantism in particular.

The second part of the paper will argue that at first sight there also appears to be one major downside to the criticisms. As it turns out to be hardly possible to isolate the right to freedom of religion or belief from the general idea of a democratic constitutional state, what the critics are really questioning is the current state of Western liberal democracy as a whole.

The third part of the paper will propose that the reason for this close connection between religious freedom and the democratic constitutional state lies in the fact that the latter has clearly been influenced by Christianity as well. Still, the new critics of religious freedom may on closer inspection also serve as a source of inspiration for a necessary, theologically driven reform of the central tenets of liberal democracy as it has developed in recent decades.

For the full program of the Festival, see: http://www.law.cf.ac.uk/clr/networks/The%20Cardiff%20Festival%20for%20Law%20and%20Religion%20Full%20Programme.pdf.

For registration, and other information, see: http://www.law.cf.ac.uk/clr/.

Article in Muslim World Journal of Human Rights (2011)

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The abstract of this article, entitled ‘The Judicial Protection of Religious Symbols in Europe’s Public Educational Institutions: Thank God for Canada and South Africa’, reads as follows:

‘How should judges deal with the manifestation of religious symbols in public educational institutions? In light of the important role of human rights in our legal and political system, courts should grant maximum protection under the freedom of religion or belief. The central thesis of this article is that the European Court of Human Rights fails to live up to this standard. In order to reach this conclusion, the article analyzes relevant case law of the European Court and compares its case law with that of the high courts of Canada and South Africa. In addition, the article assesses the case law of all three courts from the angle of interpretation theory and particularly Cass R. Sunstein’s theory of judicial minimalism. Adoption of a more consistently minimalist methodology by the European Court might lead to a greater protection granted to individuals and groups. However, a wide and deep ruling is first required to overturn the current line of reasoning. The European Court can draw inspiration from Canada and South Africa for such a judgment.’

For order information of the article, which was co-authored with Florian H. Karim Theissen, see:

http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/mwjhr.2011.8.issue-1/1554-4419.1216/1554-4419.1216.xml.

About the journal:

‘Muslim World Journal of Human Rights offers a medium for scholarly debate on various aspects of the question of human rights as it relates to the Muslim World. Edited by an international board of leading Islamic studies, Middle Eastern studies and human right scholars from around the world, MWJHR promises to serve as a forum in which barriers are bridged (or at least, addressed), and human rights are finally discussed with an eye on the Muslim world, in an open and creative manner.

The choice to name the journal, “Muslim World Journal of Human Rights” reflects a desire to examine human rights issues related not only to Islam and Islamic law, but equally those human rights issues found in Muslim societies that stem from various other sources such as socio-economic and political factors, as well the interaction and intersections of the two areas.’