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

’18 May 2017

In 2014 Hans-Martien ten Napel received a Research Fellowship in Legal Studies at the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, NJ. The book he wrote as a result of this fellowship was published last week by Routledge Law.

The description of the book, entitled Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human, is as follows:

‘In both Europe and North America it can be argued that the associational and institutional dimensions of the right to freedom of religion or belief are increasingly coming under pressure. This book demonstrates why a more classical understanding of the idea of a liberal democracy can allow for greater respect for the right to freedom of religion or belief.

The book examines the major direction in which liberal democracy has developed over the last fifty years and contends that this is not the most legitimate type of liberal democracy for religiously divided societies. Drawing on theoretical developments in the field of transnational constitutionalism, Hans-Martien ten Napel argues that redirecting the concept and practice of liberal democracy toward the more classical notion of limited, constitutional government, with a considerable degree of autonomy for civil society organizations would allow greater religious pluralism. The book shows how, in a postsecular and multicultural context, modern sources of constitutionalism and democracy, supplemented by premodern, transcendental legitimation, continue to provide the best means of legitimating Western constitutional and political orders.’

Research Fellowship in Legal Studies Hans Martien ten Napel

More information about the book

Interview in 2015 with Hans-Martien ten Napel about the research project

Source: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/news/2017/05/hans-martien-ten-napel-published-book-constitutionalism-democracy-and-religious-freedom.-to-be-fully-human

For the Dutch version of the press release, please see: Hans-Martien ten Napel publiceert boek “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/.

Participant, expert seminar ‘Religious Pluralism and Human Rights in Europe: Where to Draw the Line?’, Netherlands Institute of Human Rights, Utrecht (9-10 May 2006)

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‘”How should we deal with religious pluralism in contemporary Europe from a human rights perspective and where should we draw the line, if any?” This was the central question of an expert seminar held in 2006 at Utrecht University to celebrate the inaugural address of Abdullahi An-Na’im, who occupied the G.J. Wiarda Chair at the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) in 2005/2006. (…)
Though religious pluralism in itself is anything but new in Europe, the influx of large groups of non-Christians, especially Muslims, and the political climate after recent terrorist attacks have profoundly changed the terms of the debate on how to deal with it. Should all religions be treated the same, or is it legitimate to take European Christian heritage into account?
Does religion deserve more protection than culture? What does it mean if we say the State has to be secular and/or neutral? How should freedom of religion be dealt with if it conflicts with other fundamental rights such as sex equality? And how should one approach limitations on the freedom of expression that are related to religion, such as hate speech bans or criminalisation of glorifying terrorism?
The questions are set against the background of modern notions of citizenship and the European human rights framework.’

Source: http://intersentia.com/en/shop/academisch/religious-pluralism-and-human-rights-in-europe.html.

About the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights:

‘SIM is the key centre of expertise of human rights research and education at Utrecht University.

The Netherlands Institute of Human Rights offers internationally oriented study programmes, conducts interdisciplinary research and organises a range of activities in the field of human rights.

History
Established in 1981 as a research support institute for a group of Dutch human rights NGOs, SIM has become integrated into Utrecht University over time. SIM was one of the founders of the Netherlands School of Human Rights Research and is the home of the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights. Famous human rights researchers have headed SIM since its creation, including Hans Thoolen, Manfred Nowak, Peter Baehr, Cees Flinterman and Jenny Goldschmidt. Antoine Buyse is SIM’s current director. With a rich tradition and a keen eye voor current and future developments in the field of human rights, SIM is a leading academic research institute and the home base of a vibrant, interdisciplinary and international group of researchers, lecturers, and PhD students.’

– See more at: http://sim.rebo.uu.nl/en/over-ons/#sthash.Klf2stYo.dpuf.

Chapter in volume on Law and Religion in the 21st Century. Relations between States and Religious Communities (2010)

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‘This book brings together leading international scholars of law and religion to provide an overview of current issues in State-religion relations. The first part of the collection offers a picture of recent developments in key countries and regions. The second part is focused on Europe and, in particular, on the Nordic States and the post-communist countries where State-religion systems have undergone most profound change. The third and final part is devoted to four issues that are currently debated all over the world: the relations between freedom of expression and freedom of religion; proselytism and the right to change religion; the religious symbols; and the legal status of Islam in Europe and Canada.
The work will be a valuable resource for academics, students and policy-makers with an interest in the interaction between law and religion.’

My own chapter, co-authored with Florian H.K. Theissen, is entitled: ‘The European Court of Human Rights on religious symbols in public institutions – a comparative perspective: maximum protection of the freedom of religion through judicial minimalism?’.

Order information:

http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9781409411437.