Opinion Article: ‘Can Christian Democracy Save America from Trump?’

‘Religious conservatism doesn’t have to be populist. It has played an important role for democracy and dignity in Europe – and can do so in the US, too.’

The article is co-written by Carlo Invernizzi-Accetti, assistant professor of political science at the City College of New York and author of What is Christian Democracy? Politics, Religion and Ideology (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming), and Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins, lecturer in religious studies at Yale University and author of The Crisis of Secularism since 1989: A Global Perspective (Columbia University Press, forthcoming).

Read the full article here:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/07/christian-democracy-authoritarianism-trump

See also:

Symposium on Christian Democracy and America: ‘Can Christian Democracy Be America’s Next European Import?’

Entry on Christian Democracy in Encyclopedia of Political Thought

Canon of Dutch Christian Democracy now also available in English

Presenter and Discussant, ICON-S Conference ‘Courts, Power, Public Law’, University of Copenhagen, 5-7 July 2017

Looking forward to presenting next week on ‘The European Court of Human Rights’ “constitutional morality” in the religious domain’. The paper forms part of a panel on ‘Judicialisation of Human Rights Law and Policy: A Vehicle for Effective Protection of Fundamental Rights?’

The description of this panel reads as follows:

‘The panel introduces the Leiden Research Group ‘Effective Protection of Fundamental Rights in a Pluralist World’. Though judicialisation is in itself not a new phenomenon, in the context of today’s globalizing world and the increasing interaction between legal systems, judicialisation is taking on entirely new dimensions and is giving rise to new and complex issues. This is especially true in the field of fundamental rights. At first sight, this judicialisation in the area of human rights seems to be a positive development that furthers the effective protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the international regional and domestic level. However, judicialisation also raises a number of issues that need to be addressed, such as the democratic basis of law-making and separation of powers. Against this background, judicialisation as a means to further fundamental rights protection is very much in need of new and innovative research concerning its meaning workings and impact. Three elements merit particular attention during the panel: a.Conceptualization of judicialisation in the area of human rights; b.Judicialisation in relation to substantive areas of human rights; c.Potential and limitations of judicialisation for the effective protection of fundamental rights.’

My second paper presentation in Copenhagen is titled ‘In Defense of the Classical Liberal Conception Regarding Religious Freedom’, and will take place during a panel on ‘The Separation of Civil and Religious Powers’.

You can read the abstract of the paper here:

‘Leading U.S. scholar of constitutional interpretation Michael Paulsen has developed an interesting theory of religious freedom called ‘The Priority of God’. Paulsen distinguishes, first of all, a liberal conception of religious freedom, according to which it is widely assumed that religious truth exists in a society and the state is tolerant towards the various faith and other traditions. The U.S. however, has developed in the direction of a modern conception of religious freedom, which no longer recognises religious truth although the state remains tolerant. Moreover, still according to Paulsen, several European countries have adopted a postmodern conception of religious freedom. This conception does not just no longer recognise religious truth, but also implies a considerably less tolerant state as secularism becomes the established ‘religion’. This view paradoxically resembles the preliberal stance of religious intolerance out of the conviction that religious truth exists. In response to such developments and in light of the meeting’s general theme with special attention to the role of courts in achieving this, the proposed paper will make a case for the classical liberal position with respect to religious freedom. In light of the current religious diversity in society, this position still appears to be most conducive to safeguarding the position of religious minorities in public life in the increasingly secular, majoritarian contexts of Western liberal democracies.’

Finally, I will serve as discussant for Mathew John’s paper on ‘Framing Religion in Constitutional Power: A View from Indian Constitutional Law’ during the latter panel. Mathew John received his Ph.D. at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2012. Since that year he has been working as an Associate Professor at the Jindal Global Law School Sonipat. Since January 2017 Ph.D. Mathew John is Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities ‘Law as Culture’.

For the full program of the ICON-S Conference, see: https://icon-society.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/ICON-S-Conference-2017-Programme.pdf.

See also:

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

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

 

Participant, Acton University, June 20-23 2017, Grand Rapids, Michigan (I)

Source: CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=240138

This week I will be attending the 2017 Acton University Conference, at DeVos Place, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Acton University ‘is a unique, four-day exploration of the intellectual foundations of a free society. Guided by a distinguished, international faculty, Acton University is an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and integrate philosophy, theology, business, development – with sound, market based, economics.’

It is organized by the Acton Institute, ‘a think-tank whose mission is to promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles’.

Topics dealt with include:

Thomas Jefferson v. Alexander Hamilton

The Inspiration of the Declaration: What Calvin Coolidge’s Views on Government and Faith Tell Us Today

John Locke’s Philosophy of Liberalism

Edmund Burke and the Origins of Modern Conservatism

Alexis de Tocqueville: Does Liberty Follow from Democracy?

Democracy and Development

Natural Law and Human Flourishing

“Post-Consensus” Culture and Natural Law

Religious Liberty: The Dawn of the First Amendment

The Religious Problem with Religious Freedom

Marriage and Religious Liberty

How to Understand and Critique Secularism

Presenters will be, among others:

Ryan Anderson, Ph.D., William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow in American Principles and Public Policy, The Heritage Foundation

Hunter Baker, J.D., Ph.D., University Fellow and Associate Professor of Political Science, Union University

The Honorable Judge Janice Rogers Brown, Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit

Lenore Ealy, Ph.D., President, The Philanthropic Enterprise, Inc.

Kenneth Grasso, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Political Science, Texas State University

Carrie Gress, Ph.D., Author and Public Intellectual

Robert Joustra, Ph.D., Director of the Centre for Christian Scholarship, Redeemer University College

Daniel Mark, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, Villanova University, and Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)

Russell Moore, President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

Svetlana Papazov, D.Min., Lead Pastor, Real Life Church; CEO & Founder, Real Life Center for Entrepreneurial and Leadership Excellence

John Pinheiro, Ph.D., Professor of History and Founding Director of Catholic Studies, Aquinas College

Amity Shlaes, Presidential Scholar, The King’s College.

Sources, and more informationActon UniversityActon Institute.

See alsoUpcoming Speaking Engagement: Symposium The Federalist Papers, Brussel, 20 april 2017

Major New Report by the National Secular Society: Rethinking Religion and Belief in Public Life

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‘The report says that Britain’s “drift away from Christianity” coupled with the rise in minority religions and increasing non-religiosity demands a “long term, sustainable settlement on the relationship between religion and the state”.

Rethinking religion and belief in public life: a manifesto for change has been sent to all MPs as part of a major drive by the Society to encourage policymakers and citizens of all faiths and none to find common cause in promoting principles of secularism.

It calls for Britain to evolve into a secular democracy with a clear separation between religion and state and criticises the prevailing multi-faithist approach as being “at odds with the increasing religious indifference” in Britain.

Terry Sanderson, National Secular Society president, said: “Vast swathes of the population are simply not interested in religion, it doesn’t play a part in their lives, but the state refuses to recognise this. Britain is now one of the most religiously diverse and, at the same time, non-religious nations in the world. Rather than burying its head in the sand, the state needs to respond to these fundamental cultural changes. Our report sets out constructive and specific proposals to fundamentally reform the role of religion in public life to ensure that every citizen can be treated fairly and valued equally, irrespective of their religious outlook.”‘

Source: http://www.secularism.org.uk/rethinking-religion-and-belief-i.html. Here you can also read, and endorse, the report.

In my forthcoming book I write that it is not just meant for readers who could be expected to sympathise with some or all of the theoretical starting points set out in the introduction, but also as a modest invitation precisely to dissenters to engage in a “respectful academic conversation” similar to what Founding Director of the Center for Christian Studies at Gordon College (now the Center for Faith and Inquiry) Harold Heie calls a “respectful political conversation”. Should this not, or no longer, be possible, then it will also prove difficult to uphold the ideal of a pluralistic public square as part of one’s democracy conception, as advocated in the book.

This is the fifth post in a new series introducing my forthcoming book on Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To be Fully Human (Routledge, 2017).

For the first four posts, please see:

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, Conference ‘Christianity and the Future of our Societies’, Leuven, Belgium, 15-19 August 2016

Conferentie-Leuven-icoon

‘The event is jointly organized by the Evangelische Theologische Faculteit, Leuven and the Association for Reformational Philosophy and tackles issues facing the future of our societies. The focus of the conference is to analyze philosophically and theologically what Christianity can contribute to the well-being and flourishing of societies, and people within societies, in the 21st century, in very diverse contexts around the world. The aim of the conference is to discuss with scholars from all over the world not only the significance of religion and Christianity in general, but also the contribution of Christian theology and Christian philosophical thinking in particular for contemporary societies in very different contexts around the globe.’

The paper I will be presenting during the conference is provisionally entitled: ‘Christianity and the Future of Religious Freedom’.

On the Association of Reformational Philosophy:

‘The Association of Reformational Philosophy (ARP) has its roots in the 16th century Reformation and its direct origin in the 19th neo-Calvinist revival (in which Abraham Kuyper was a pivotal figure). One of the goals of the ARP is “to contribute to the deepening of philosophical insight in created reality, and to make these insights fruitful for academic studies and for society”. Key founding fathers of the movement were the Dutch philosophers Herman Dooyeweerd and Dirk Vollenhoven. The movement has grown, and is today globally engaged in academic dialogue between Christianity and the contemporary world, and its animating intellectual, political and economic ideas and leaders. It does so in the expectation that Christianity has important and timely insights to offer.’

On the Evangelische Theologische Faculteit:

‘The Evangelische Theologische Faculteit (ETF) in Leuven, Belgium, has developed into an important European education and research center for Christian theology that seeks relevance to the contemporary world and its concerns. In ETF’s international master’s and doctoral program, students and professors from a wide variety of cultural and denominational backgrounds come from all over the world to engage in stimulating dialogue.’

For more information, and registration, see http://www.cfs2016.org/.

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.

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.’

RELIGARE Conference on ‘Secularism and Religious Diversity in Europe: Opportunities and Perspectives, Leuven & Brussels, 4 – 5 December 2012

I am pleased to pass the invitation for the above conference on to anyone interested in this topic. I had the honor to make a contribution to one of the volumes produced in the course of this project (see http://hmtennapel.weblog.leidenuniv.nl/2012/08/06/a-test-of-faith-religious-diversity-and/). Speakers during the conference include Tore Lindholm (University of Oslo), Olivier Roy (European University Institute), Abdulla An-Na’im (Professor Emeritus, Emory University), José Casanova (Georgetown University) and Heiner Bielefeldt (UN Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion).

‘RELIGARE (‘Religious Diversity and Secular Models in Europe: Innovative Approaches to Law and Policy’) is a European research project funded by the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7, 2007-2013) of the European Commission. It focuses on the coexistence and interactions of secular and religious values in contemporary Europe.

To mark the end of this 3 year project, a high level Conference will be organized on 4-5 of December 2012 to present the project’s results and recommendations. The event has been organized as follows:

4 December 2012 – Leuven (University of Leuven)
• Conference (9.00 a.m. – 6.30 p.m.):
Presentation of the research results by the project partners, accompanied by an in-depth analysis of scientific findings by invited academics and experts.
Venue: Tiensestraat 41, Law Faculty, 3000 Leuven – Auditorium Zeger Van Hee, Collegium Falconis.
• Evening debate (7.30.p.m. – 9.30 p.m.):
Featuring a panel discussion and a keynote speech by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council.
Venue: Promotiezaal: Universiteitshal, Naamsestraat 22, B-3000 Leuven.

5 December 2012 – Brussels (Centre Albert Borchette, European Commission)
• Conference (9.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.): Day two focuses on the EU policy relevance of the RELIGARE results, and aims at stimulating discussion and feedback between researchers and EU policymakers.
Includes the participation of Mr. Lázló Surján, Vice-President of the European Parliament, who will deliver a Keynote Speech at 2 p.m.

Venue: Albert Borschette Conference Centre, 36 Rue Froissart, Brussels

(…)

The RELIGARE Steering Committee (on behalf of the RELIGARE project)

Prof. Marie-Claire Foblets, University of Leuven (Coordinator of the RELIGARE project)
Prof. Veit Bader, University of Amsterdam
Dr. Sergio Carrera, Centre for European Policy Studies
Prof. Silvio Ferrari, University of Milan
Prof. Francis Messner, National Centre for Scientific Research (PRISME-University of Strasbourg)
Prof. Jørgen Nielsen, University of Copenhagen
Prof. Mathias Rohe, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg
Dr. Prakash Shah, Queen Mary, University of London
Prof. Rik Torfs, University of Leuven’

You can access the full programme, and register for this event at http://religareproject.eu/content/religare-conference-secularism-and-religious-diversity-europe-opportunities-and-perspectives.

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

Pleased to learn, upon my return from vacation, that the above book, edited by Katayoun Alidadi, Marie-Claire Foblets and Jogchum Vrielink, all at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, is now available from Ashgate Publishing. The flyer of the book, to which I contributed a chapter entitled ‘Beyond Lautsi: An Alternative Approach to Limiting the Government’s Ability to Display Religious Symbols in the Public Workplace’, contains the following information: 

‘Religion and modernity meet in the European workplace. The implications are many and varied. The contributions to this timely volume are concerned with the legal dimensions of these encounters. They merit very careful scrutiny.’ – Grace Davie, University of Exeter, UK

‘Throughout Europe, religion in the workplace is perceived as self-evident in some contexts, and as hugely problematic in others. The increasing number of legal scholars and practitioners who confront this issue, will find in this book numerous pathways along which to form their own legal opinion, and to help shape the as yet undecided legal approaches in many European countries.’ – Eva Brems, Ghent University, Belgium

Issues of religious diversity in the workplace have become very topical and have been raised before domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights. Examining the controversial and constantly evolving position of religion in the workplace, this collection brings together chapters by legal and social science scholars and provides a wealth of information on legal responses across Europe, Turkey and the United States to conflicts between professional and religious obligations involving employees and employers.

Contributors: Katayoun Alidadi, Marie-Claire Foblets, Jogchum Vrielink, Lucy Vickers, Saïla Ouald Chaib, Kristin Henrard, Hans-Martien ten Napel, Titia Loenen, Yves Stox, Mine Yildirim, Rim-Sarah Alouane, Efrat Tzadik, Gabrielle Caceres, Amandine Barb, Julie Ringelheim.

To order, please visit: www.ashgate.com. All online orders receive a discount. Alternatively, contact our distributor: Bookpoint Ltd, Ashgate Publishing Direct Sales, 130 Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4SB, UK. Tel: +44 (0)1235 827730 Fax: +44 (0)1235 400454. Email: ashgate@bookpoint.co.uk.

August 2012, 382 pages, Hardback, 978-1-4094-4502-9, £75.00, www.ashgate.com/, isbn/9781409445029. Sample pages for published titles are available to view online at: www.ashgate.com

Contents: Introduction; Part I European Components of the Religion and Workplace Debate: Section I Religion, Workplace Accommodations and the Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights: Section II New Player Joining In: the European Union and Religious Discrimination: Part II Identity, Neutrality, Secularism: Case Studies and Comparative Perspectives: Section I Country Studies: Turkey, France and Belgium: Section II Comparative Perspectives In the Public and Private Workplace: Index.

Full contents listing is available on the website: http://www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=637&calctitle=1&pageSubject=501&title_id=11755&edition_id=15297 .’