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

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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”

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”

Book on Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human now published

About the book:

‘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.’

For the source, and more information also on how to order the book, see: Routledge.com or Amazon.com.

See also: Interview on project on ‘Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom’.

Book on Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human (Routledge) now available for pre-order

‘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 post-secular 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.’

For more information, and to pre-order, see:

https://www.routledge.com/Constitutionalism-Democracy-and-Religious-Freedom-To-be-Fully-Human/ten-Napel/p/book/9781138647152;

https://www.amazon.com/Constitutionalism-Democracy-Religious-Freedom-Religion/dp/1138647152 (USA);

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Constitutionalism-Democracy-Religious-Freedom-Religion/dp/1138647152/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1485007049&sr=8-8&keywords=constitutionalism+democracy (United Kingdom);

https://www.amazon.de/Constitutionalism-Democracy-Religious-Freedom-Religion/dp/1138647152/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1485007114&sr=8-1&keywords=Constitutionalism+democracy+religious+freedom (Germany);

https://www.bol.com/nl/p/constitutionalism-democracy-and-religious-freedom/9200000055900993/ (Netherlands).

Paper Presentation during Journal of Law, Religion & State International Conference on ‘The Rule of Law – Religious Perspectives’, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel, 20-22 November 2016

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For the program of the conference, see:

The call for papers for the conference can be found here:

http://www.ssrn.com/update/lsn/lsnann/ann16021.html.

The original paper proposal which I submitted, read as follows:

Christianity, Liberalism, and the Rule of Law

During the last decade or so the discipline of constitutional law has changed considerably. It has become more comparative, interdisciplinary and theoretical. What has not happened yet, however, is that constitutional lawyers have become more (openly) aware of their philosophical presuppositions. Thus, it is still commonplace for central concepts of the discipline, such as the rule of law, to be treated as if they do not at least partly have their historical roots in religions like Christianity, or as if such religions currently no longer have anything to contribute to these concepts.

This is remarkable, given that for example Michel Rosenfeld has had to concede ‘that there is no consensus on what “the rule of law” stands for, even if it is fairly clear what it stands against. An important part of the problem is that “the rule of law” is an “essentially contestable concept,” with both descriptive and prescriptive content over which there is a lack of widespread agreement.’

In light of the above, the proposed paper will depart from the idea that the concept of the rule of law is somehow intimately connected with Western liberal tradition. As Michael W. McConnell has argued, the history of liberalism in turn goes back further than the Enlightenment of the 18th century. It is probably more accurate to regard the 16th century Reformation as having given rise to liberalism, with its emphasis on the idea of individual conscience.

McConnell has also elaborated upon the similarities between some of the core doctrines of liberalism and particular Christian theological principles. Of these different connections, the one between the notion of limited government and the idea of the separation of church and state will be singled out, i.e. libertas ecclesiae or the ‘freedom of the church’. As McConnell puts it, ‘[i]n this view, religious freedom comes into being not as a result of ontological individualism but as a result of the jurisdictional separation between these two sets of authorities. (…) While theological in its origin, the two-kingdoms idea lent powerful support to a more general liberal theory of government. The separation of church from state is the most powerful possible refutation of the notion that the political sphere is omnicompetent – that it has rightful authority over all of life. If the state does not have power over the church, it follows that the power of the state is limited.’

The proposed paper will argue that this prescriptive meaning ascribed to the concept of rule of law by Christianity takes on a renewed relevance at a time when sovereignty claims by religious institutions are increasingly regarded by their critics as incompatible with the idea of state sovereignty being the only legitimate source of sovereignty. Thus, it is unfortunately presented as if a clear choice will need to be made between the jurisdictional approach to religious freedom and the modern liberal view that sees sovereignty within the liberal democratic state as essentially monistic in nature.

Upcoming Speaking Engagement, Journal of Law, Religion & State International Conference: Rule of Law – Religious Perspectives, Bar-Ilan University School of Law, Ramat-Gan, Israel

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‘The encounter of religion with the rule of law may generate tension but also mutual inspiration. The rule of law implies law’s supremacy over other normative systems and personal commitments. It also implies that law applies to everyone equally. Religion represents a normative system that may in some areas be different from – and stand in opposition to – state law. Religion may deny the supremacy of state law and pose divine law as supreme instead. It may, alternatively, seek exemptions from state law in those matters where the two conflict.

TOPICS: In this conference we seek to study this tension and discuss the following questions:
– Does religion (in general or a specific religion) accept the rule of state law?
– What are the boundaries (if any) of such acceptance?
– In what cases would religion challenge state law and in what cases would it seek exemptions?
– Can a policy of multiculturalism and of legal pluralism, which give more room to religious freedom, be reconciled with the rule of law or does it undermine it?
– What other policies should states follow in response to these tensions?

Religion may not only compete with state law but also inspire it, which leads us to investigate religion’s various understandings of the rule of law. Here is just one example. The concept of law in the context of the rule of law is ambiguous and open to different interpretations. Some (positivists) understand law as a set of rules fixed by social institutions, and others (natural law advocates) understand law as if it includes fundamental principles of justice and morality. Religions may take a position in that debate and contribute not only to the abstract understanding of law, but also to the identification of those moral principles that are part of law. We therefore also plan to explore the following:
– What is the position of religion with regard to the concept of law and the rule of law?
– Many religions developed partial or comprehensive legal systems of their own. Did religions also develop a concept of rule of law? What is its scope and meaning?
– The concept of rule of law also may be used in theological context as a metaphor to understand the boundaries of divine actions and intervention in the world. Is God constrained by law – and by what kind of law: law of nature, morality?

These and similar questions will be discussed in an international conference that will be held at Bar-Ilan University School of Law, Ramat-Gan, Israel, on November 20-22, 2016.’

Source: http://www.ssrn.com/update/lsn/lsnann/ann16021.html. More information will follow.

Lid, promotiecommissie, D. van der Blom, ‘De verhouding van staat en religie in een veranderende Nederlandse samenleving’, 6 juli 2016

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‘Door sterk gewijzigde maatschappelijke ontwikkelingen is voor de verhouding van staat en religie in Nederland de laatste decennia meer publieke belangstelling ontstaan dan ooit kon worden voorzien. Daarnaast is deze belangstelling langzamerhand een vraagstuk geworden die belangrijk is voor zowel de Nederlandse samenleving als andere Europese natiestaten.’

Lees hier meer: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/onderzoek/onderzoeksoutput/rechtsgeleerdheid/de-verhouding-van-staat-en-religie-in-een-veranderende-nederlandse-samenleving.

Ph.D. Thesis Committee Member For: D. van der Blom, The Relationship between State and Religion in a Changing Dutch Society

In recent decades, the Netherlands’ struggle with multiculturalism has caused an upsurge in public interest in the relationship between state and religion. In this, the Dutch address a subject relevant not just to them, but to all of Europe.’

Read more here: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/research/research-output/law/the-relationship-between-state-and-religion-in-a-changing-dutch-society.

 

Respondent, The Atlantic Conversations on Religion and Public Life, St. George’s House, Windsor Castle (2007)

St. George's House

From the ‘Welcome to St. George’s House’:

‘This event is hosted by St George’s House in association with the Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton. Our aim is to bring together a distinguished group of public leaders and scholars from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the United States of America to foster a trans-Atlantic dialogue on vital questions.

Our theme is topical, complex and challenging. We shall examine, for example:

– whether religion should enjoy any acknowledged role in the public sphere in a modern, pluralist democracy, or be confined to private observance;

– the potential conflict between deep-rooted tradition, tolerance of multi-cultural diversity, and freedom of expression and practice;

– whether the concepts of neutrality and even-handedness have any meaning when the State – any State – needs ethical and moral underpinning for its public values.

Many other important questions will certainly arise in debate. You are attending, not a formal Conference, but a Conversation. As always at St George’s House, all are encouraged – irrespective of any public role or responsibility – to think and speak freely and imaginatively and to be open to new ideas, secure in the knowledge that confidentiality is guaranteed. I hope that original, stimulating and potentially influential insights will emerge – and that the historic and beautiful environment of Windsor Castle will exert on you its special magic and ensure lasting happy memories of your stay.

Andrew Carter

Warden

St. George’s House.’

For the full programme, see:

https://www.secularism.org.uk/uploads/354684dc5b129a3305694252.pdf.

Presentation during day conference on ‘Multiculturalism: Template for Peace or Recipe for Division’, West Yorkshire School of Christian Studies, Leeds (2007)

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‘”Has multiculturalism had its day?” “Has multicultural society any space for faith-based institutions”? This time the answers come from Greg Mulholland MP, Jan van der Stoep, Hans-Martien ten Napel and Jonathan Chaplin, who are the speakers at a day conference run by the West Yorkshire School of Christian Studies.

Multiculturalism: Template for peace or recipe for conflict? takes place on December 8 at Outwood House, Horsforth with sessions at Woodside Methodist Church.’

Source: ThirdWay Magazine, december 2007.

‘WYSOCS is a Christian education centre exploring the power of faith in learning for every aspect of life. Based in Leeds, we provide resources for Christians throughout the UK and beyond to engage culture with an authentically Christian worldview.’ See: http://wysocs.org.uk.

You can download Jonathan Chaplin’s contribution, ‘Has multiculturalism had its day? Towards a Christian assessment’, here: http://www.klice.co.uk/uploads/Ethics%20in%20Brief/Chaplin%20v12.6%20pub.pdf.

For audio, go here: http://www.wysocs.org.uk/recordings.php.

My own presentation was entitled: ‘”Curbing’ multiculturalism in the European Court of Human Rights?

 

Chapter in volume on Religion, Politics and Law. Philosophical Reflections on the Sources of Normative Order in Society (2009)

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‘Modern, liberal democracies in the West living under the rule of law and protection of human rights cannot articulate the very values from which they derive their legitimacy. These pre-political and pre-legal preconditions cannot be guaranteed, let alone be enforced by the state, but constitute nevertheless its moral and spiritual infrastructure. Until recently, a common background and horizon consisted in Christianity, but due to secularisation and globalisation, society has become increasingly multicultural and multireligious. The question can and should be raised how religion relates to these sources of normative order in society, how religion, politics and law relate to each other, and how social cohesion can be attained in society, given the growing varieties of religious experiences. In this book, a philosophical account of this question is carried out, on the one hand historically from Plato to the Enlightenment, on the other hand systematically and practically.’

My own chapter, co-authored with Florian H. Karim Theissen, is entitled ‘Taking Pluralism Seriously: The US and the EU as Multicultural Democracies’.

See https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228283908_Taking_Pluralism_Seriously_The_US_and_the_EU_as_Multicultural_Democracies.

For order information, visit http://www.brill.com/religion-politics-and-law;

or http://www.amazon.com/Religion-Politics-Law-Bart-Labuschagne/dp/9004172076/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1452689366&sr=8-1&keywords=religion%2C+politics%2C+law+labuschagne.