Book Recommendations (I): Nicholas Wolterstorff, Understanding Liberal Democracy (2012)

About the book:

Understanding Liberal Democracy presents notable work by Nicholas Wolterstorff at the intersection between political philosophy and religion. Alongside his influential earlier essays, it includes nine new essays in which Wolterstorff develops original lines of argument and stakes out novel positions regarding the nature of liberal democracy, human rights, and political authority. Taken together, these positions are an attractive alternative to the so-called public reason liberalism defended by thinkers such as John Rawls. The volume will be of interest to philosophers, political theorists, and theologians, engaging a wide audience of those interested in how best to understand the nature of liberal democracy and its relation to religion.’

About the author:

‘Nicholas Wolterstorff is Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology, Yale University. Currently he is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, at the University of Virginia. He has been President of the American Philosophical Association, and of the Society of Christian Philosophers; he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among the lectures he has given are the Wilde Lectures at Oxford University, the Gifford Lectures at St Andrews University, and the Stone Lectures at Princeton Seminary. He has published over twenty books including On Universals, Works and Worlds of Art, Art in Action, Until Justice and Peace Embrace, Reason within the Bounds of Religion, Divine Discourse, John Locke and the Ethics of Belief, Thomas Reid and the Story of Epistemology, Educating for Shalom, Lament for a Son, Justice: Rights and Wrongs and Justice in Love.’

Source, and more information: Wolterstorff, Understanding Liberal Democracy. Essays in Political Philosophy.

As I write in the introduction to my new book, Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human (Routledge, 2017), I have found that some of the most worthwhile books on liberal democracy which have been published in recent years, have been authored, for example, by ethicists and philosophers. You can read part of the introduction to my book here.

As I demonstrate in the third chapter of Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human, Wolterstorff’s Understanding Liberal Democracy is a major example of such a worthwhile book.

See also Twelve posts introducing my new book on Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human

Twelve posts introducing my new book on Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human

For the posts, please see:

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

Article ‘Princeton Seminary Reforms Its Views on Honoring Tim Keller’

Yale Law Professor: ‘American courts are tackling Islamophobia – why won’t Europeans?’

Waarom de PVV niet het initiatief in de kabinetsformatie moet krijgen

New Book: ‘The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation’ (2017)

R.R. Reno on ‘Islam and America’

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

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

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”

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’.

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

From the article:

‘In many countries around the world, it remains difficult for people of all religions to practice their faith freely. And in others, it’s getting harder.

A Pew Research Center report released Tuesday shows that the number of countries with high levels of religious restrictions ― either from the government or from hostile individuals or groups ― grew overall from 34 percent in 2014 to 40 percent in 2015, the latest year for which data is available. (…)

Consistent with previous years, the Middle East-North Africa region had the largest percentage of governments that harassed and used force against religious groups (95 percent). European countries came in second, at 89 percent. Europe also experienced the largest increase in government harassment (rising from 17 countries in 2014 to 27 countries in 2015) and use of force against religious groups (going from 15 countries in 2014 to 24 countries in 2015). In particular, Pew pointed to France for cases where individuals were punished for wearing face coverings in public spaces and Russia for prosecuting groups for publicly exercising their religion.’

Read the whole article by Carol Kuruvilla here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/pew-global-religious-restrictions_us_58ed070be4b0ca64d919ab12.

In my forthcoming book on Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human I write that before I left for Princeton I already had the sense that, as the then United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Heiner Bielefeld noted in 2012, religious freedom was globally becoming ‘a human right under pressure’. Political scientist Allen D. Hertzke, the editor of a recent volume on the future of the right to freedom of religion or belief, speaks about ‘a profound paradox of our age’, in the sense that ‘at the very time that the value of religious freedom is mounting, the international consensus behind it is weakening (…). Indeed we see not only widespread violations around the world, but looming threats in the West that jeopardize previous gains’.

This is the twelfth post in a new series introducing my new book.

For the first eleven posts, please see:

Article ‘Princeton Seminary Reforms Its Views on Honoring Tim Keller’

Yale Law Professor: ‘American courts are tackling Islamophobia – why won’t Europeans?’

Waarom de PVV niet het initiatief in de kabinetsformatie moet krijgen

New Book: ‘The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation’ (2017)

R.R. Reno on ‘Islam and America’

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

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

 

Upcoming Speaking Engagement: 2017 ICON∙S Conference on ‘Courts, Power, and Public Law’, Copenhagen, July 5-7

 

My two scheduled presentations during the conference are entitled: ‘The European Court of Human Rights’ “constitutional morality” in the religious domain’, and ‘In Defense of the Classical Liberal Conception Regarding Religious Freedom’.

About the general conference theme:

‘The overarching theme of the ICON-S 2017 Annual Meeting will be “Courts, Power, Public Law”. The expanding role of courts is arguably one of the most significant developments in late-20th and early-21st century government. Today, courts around the world play an increasingly central role in defining the relationship between different organs of the state, as between state, non-state actors and individual citizens, and between national and supranational levels of governance. Domestic courts routinely interpret and enforce constitutional provisions guaranteeing the separation of powers, federalism and civil and political rights. Many domestic courts also now play a role in safeguarding democracy, and protecting and promoting social rights. In doing so, many domestic courts are also in active ‘dialogue’ with regional and international tribunals, as well as with transnational investment agreements or legal norms; and international courts likewise rely on regional and domestic human rights and public law norms in developing international jurisprudence.

What explains this increasingly dense network of judicial control over public power, and transnational judicial interaction? To what extent do courts succeed in achieving their goals, and under what conditions? In the midst of concerns about national and international security, how should courts respond to such concerns without compromising ideals of constitutional democracy? What should be the appropriate remit of international tribunals in balancing the competing claims of a just peace and individual responsibility? What are we to make of the role of courts in the management and mismanagement of the national and international economic crisis, and how it has called into question some of the classic institutions of democracy? Answering these questions requires close attention to the social, economic and political context for judicial review. It also invites attention to questions of public power: how, and under what conditions, do courts enjoy the power, legitimacy and independence necessary to serve as a meaningful check on national and transnational actors? How does the social and political power enjoyed by political elites, citizens or social movements contribute to the creation or success of judicial review in different settings? Do we need to rethink the conventional ways of understanding how courts mediate between the international and the national? Addressing these questions is a key focus for much of the leading scholarship on comparative constitutional law, comparative politics, comparative administrative law, and international law and governance today. It is also the focus of the ICON-S 2017 Conference.’

About ICON-S:

‘The initiative to create an International Society of Public Law emerged from the Editorial Board of I·CON – the International Journal of Constitutional Law. For several years now I·CON has been, both by choice and by the cartographic reality of the field, much more than a journal of comparative constitutional Law. I·CON has expanded its interests, range of authors, readers, Editorial Board members and, above all, issues covered to include not only discrete articles in fields such as Administrative Law, Global Constitutional Law, Global Administrative Law and the like, but also increasingly includes scholarship that reflects both legal reality and academic perception, and which in dealing with the challenges of public life and governance combines elements from all of the above with a good dosage of political theory and social science.’

Source, and all additional information:

https://icon-society.org/2017-conference/.

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/.

Article ‘Princeton Seminary Reforms Its Views on Honoring Tim Keller’

‘The most popular Reformed preacher and author in America today is not eligible to receive Princeton Theological Seminary’s annual award in Reformed theology and public witness.

The mainline seminary reversed its decision to honor Tim Keller with a prize named for neo-Calvinist theologian Abraham Kuyper following outcry over the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA) pastor’s conservative positions.

Princeton president Craig Barnes announced the news in a letter released Wednesday morning.’

Read the whole article in Christianity Today here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2017/march/princeton-rescinds-tim-keller-kuyper-prize-women-ordination.html.

In my forthcoming book on Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human, I write that there is an increasing academic fascination with cities, both in theology and law and political science, and rightly so. The reason for this lies without doubt in part in the prognosis that during the 21st century globally ever more people will be living in cities. As a result, the urge is felt to develop a theology for the city, with the help of which urban populations can be reached.

An example is provided by the ministry of Tim Keller in New York City. His Redeemer Presbyterian Church, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2014 and can already in many ways be regarded as a success story, recently adopted an even more ambitious plan to reach a still larger part of the population of Manhattan. Also more in general, New York City can, contrary to what many people would expect, best be characterised as a religiously vibrant place.

This is the eleventh post in a new series introducing my new book.

For the first ten posts, please see:

Yale Law Professor: ‘American courts are tackling Islamophobia – why won’t Europeans?’

Waarom de PVV niet het initiatief in de kabinetsformatie moet krijgen

New Book: ‘The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation’ (2017)

R.R. Reno on ‘Islam and America’

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

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.

Yale Law Professor: ‘American courts are tackling Islamophobia – why won’t Europeans?’

‘On both sides of the Atlantic, courts this week have addressed the relationship of Islam to the west, but with radically different approaches and outcomes. In the US, federal courts in Hawaii and Maryland have halted Donald Trump’s second attempt at a Muslim ban. Meanwhile, the European court of justice, Europe’s highest court, has upheld the right of private employers to ban Muslim women from wearing headscarves.

American and European law each embrace principles of religious neutrality and non-discrimination, but the divergent application of those laws reflects different levels of discomfort with religion generally and a demographic anxiety with Islam in particular.’

Read here the rest of this article by Muneer I Ahmad in the Guardian of 17th March 2017: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/17/islamophobia-most-worrying-europe-not-trumps-america.

Muneer I Ahmad is Clinical Professor of Law at Yale Law School and co-director of the Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic, which was co-counsel on the first case to challenge the original Muslim Ban.

My forthcoming book on Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human (Routledge) is comparative, among other things, in the sense that it sometimes points towards differences and similarities between Europe and North America, be it not in a systematic manner. As such, it notes that in Europe respect for the fundamental right of freedom of religion or belief appears to have been eroding for quite some time, certainly in some of the courts.

This is the tenth post in a new series introducing this book.

For the first nine posts, please see:

Waarom de PVV niet het initiatief in de kabinetsformatie moet krijgen

New Book: ‘The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation’ (2017)

R.R. Reno on ‘Islam and America’

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

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