Tag Archives: religious pluralism

Signatory to Amicus effort in Lautsi case before European Court of Human Rights (2010)

In 2010, Notre Dame Professor of Law Paolo Carozza led ‘a group of more than 50 law professors from 15 countries who have submitted written comments asking the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights to overturn a seven-judge panel’s ruling that crucifixes may not be displayed in Italian classrooms. (…)

“The challenges of religious pluralism in contemporary Europe can’t be resolved through the false premise that banning religious symbols from public spaces is somehow a ‘neutral’ position,” Carozza said. “Pluralism must be achieved through a genuine dialogue among the religious traditions of the European peoples, a dialogue that becomes impossible if the symbols representing the historic traditions of the continent are excised from public life, including education.”

Working with European colleagues, Carozza assembled a coalition of prominent legal scholars from across Europe, including former constitutional court judges from three countries, to intervene as amicus curiae in the case. The group is being represented by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. (…)

In their friend-of-the-court brief, the law professors argue that the panel’s ruling needlessly threatens the wide variety of religious symbols on display on public property all over Europe, including national flags, coats of arms, and public art. The professors also warn that the panel’s decision risks setting off a widespread conflict between government and religion. Given the wide diversity of religious practices across Europe, it makes little sense to try to create a secularist “common denominator.” Rather, they contend, the Court should give states substantial leeway to structure the church-state relationship in harmony with tradition, history and culture.

“One of the cornerstones of the construction of modern Europe was precisely the acceptance of a wide variety of practices regarding religion and public life in the various states of the region,” Carozza said. “The European Court of Human Rights has in its best moments been protective of that rich and important diversity of cultures among the peoples of Europe, but the Chamber in this case betrayed that ideal by imposing a very narrow and uniform model of what is required of the state.”’

Source: https://italianstudies.nd.edu/news/law-professor-carozza-organizes-amicus-effort-in-european-crucifix-case/.

You can read the brief, to which I was a signatory and which was rejected by the Court, here:

See also:

A Test of Faith? Religious Diversity and Accommodation in the European Workplace

Article in Muslim World Journal of Human Rights (2011)

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

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’.

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)

REBO-website-SIM_01

‘”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.

Paper presentation during third bi-annual ICLARS conference in Virginia, United States


Last week I presented a paper during a conference on ‘Religion, Democracy, and Equality’, at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia. The conference was organized by the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ICLARS) and cosponsored by the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, Brigham Young University, University of Virginia School of Law, First Freedom Center and The Institute of Bill of Rights Law, William and Mary Law School.

The keynote speech by Prof. Heiner Bielefeldt, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, dealt with ‘Freedom of Religion or Belief: A Classical Human Right under Fire?’

For the full programme of the conference, a list of participants, as well as abstracts of the presentations, see the conference website at http://www.iclrs.org/index.php?contentId=2016&linkId=228&pageId=4.

Here you can also find my draft paper, entitled ‘Religious Pluralism, Eastern Ethical Monism and Western ‘Civic Totalism’.

Vacant PhD position as part of the NWO project Religion Renegotiated: Faith-Based Organizations and the State in the Netherlands since the 1960s – Public Policy

‘The Institute for Culture and History of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) currently has a vacant PhD position (full-time, four years) as part of the NWO project Religion Renegotiated: Faith-Based Organizations and the State in the Netherlands since the 1960s – Public Policy, supervised by Prof. dr. James Kennedy, conducted in close collaboration with Mr. dr. Hans-Martien ten Napel at Leiden University. Applications are now invited from excellent candidates who wish to conduct research on the changing relationship of church-state relations in the Netherlands since the 1960s and situate it in a broader transnational context.

Project description

This researcher will investigate Dutch policy regarding religious pluralism, focusing on the field of legislative change since the 1960s.  The relationship between government and faith-based organizations is the central point of interest.  The researcher will focus on debates within the legislative branch and the development of policy in government agencies, including a limited selection of case studies at the local level.

Tasks will include:

  • completion and defence of a PhD thesis within four years;
  • regular presentation of intermediate research results at workshops and conferences, and publications in proceedings and  journals;
  • close collaboration with the other researchers of the group (including on issues not directly connected to one’s own PhD project, incl. the organization of conferences and joint publications);
  • assisting in teaching activities;
  • participation in the training program of the Graduate School for Humanities;
  • a Master’s degree (or equivalent) with excellent grades in a relevant field, such as history, religious studies, law or the social sciences;
  • good academic writing and presentation skills;
  • good social and organizational skills;
  • proficiency in Dutch and English.

Requirements 

  • A Master’s degree (or equivalent) with excellent grades in a relevant field, such as history, religious studies, law or the social sciences;
  • good academic writing and presentation skills;
  • good social and organizational skills;
  • proficiency in Dutch and English.

Arbeidsvoorwaarden

The PhD candidate will be appointed full-time for a period of four years at the Faculty of Humanities. A first contract will be given for 12 months, with an extension for the remaining period on the basis of a positive evaluation. 
The preferred starting date of the contract is 1 December 2013.’

For additional information, see www.academictransfer.com/19639.