Table of Contents
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”
The latest issue of the Journal Perspectives on Political Science (Vol. 46, 2017, nr. 1) contains a symposium on Christian Democracy and America.
The abstract of the introduction to the symposium, authored by Hunter Baker, reads as follows:
‘The confluence of the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision on gay marriage and the unusual nature of the 2016 U.S. presidential election presents American Christians with significant political questions. Obergefell’s elevation of gay marriage to the status of a constitutional civil right put U.S. law and Christian orthodoxy at loggerheads, thereby raising serious issues with regard to the continued ability of religious organizations to participate in the not-for-profit sector and in higher education. At the same time, the nationalistic turn of the the Republican party under Donald Trump generated dissonance with Christian views of human solidarity. The new situation seems to shift the landscape of American politics and raises the possibility of new alternatives. Contributors to this symposium were asked to evaluate the prospects for an Americanized version of European Christian Democracy. While they generated a diversity of opinion about Christian Democracy, the group pragmatically recognized the many obstacles in place. Some argued against the idea because of reservations about associating the Christian faith with the coerciveness of law. Others noted the proven virtues of such parties in Europe. This article interacts with the different responses and makes a case for why Christian Democracy might have a brighter future in the U.S. than many believe. The primary reason is that Christian Democracy emerged in response to aggressive secularism in Europe’s past that may only be reaching similar levels in the U.S. today. Therefore, a new political movement with similarities to Christian Democracy might make sense in the American context.’
See for more information on the symposium: Symposium on Christian Democracy in America.
A central tenet of my forthcoming book is that both the questions surrounding the right to freedom of religion or belief and those surrounding constitutionalism and democracy can generally best be addressed by seeking guidance from the theory of social pluralism. At least three views of social pluralism can be distinguished: what could be called an argument from history (Edmund Burke, Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer, Otto von Gierke, John Neville Figgis); the recent Catholic tradition (Pope Leo XIII, Pope Pius XI, Jacques Maritain, Bishops of the Second Vatican Council); and progressive Calvinism (Abraham Kuyper, Herman Dooyeweerd, H. Evan Runner, Bernard J. Zylstra).
This is the fourth post in a new series introducing my forthcoming book on Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To be Fully Human (Routledge, 2017).
For the first three posts, please see:
According to the publisher, ‘This is London explodes fossilized myths and offers a fresh, exciting portrait of what it’s like to live, work, fall in love, raise children, grow old and die in London now’ (see more at: http://www.picador.com/books/this-is-london#sthash.ja63s8zF.dpuf). A Dutch translation of the book, entitled Dit is Londen, was published in January 2017.
In an article in The Big Issue (Feb. 16, 2016), author Ben Judah writes:
‘To my surprise, a hidden spirituality burst out. I never expected my quest for the city to reveal to me the immigrant mega-city’s prayers. Nigerian Peckham took me to a sacred seer, Russian Mayfair took me to its kabbalist, Pakistani Leyton told me of the love and secrets with which the faithful wash the dead.
At night London murmurs, a city of prayer. It is no longer haunted by Jack the Ripper but by the curses of Roma beggars and the amulets worn by Ghanaian witchdoctors. I found faith everywhere. The London of Karl Marx and empty pews is gone. Instead, a city of countless Nigerian street-preachers, Somali basement mosques and overflowing Polish churches. But the chapels of the other London are not like ours. London’s gods now live in converted bingo-halls and backrooms.’
The introduction of my new book contains the following passage: ‘To the extent that I had a particular location in mind while writing this book, it was New York City. At just a one-hour train ride away from Princeton, the “greatest city on earth” occasionally formed a welcome and highly inspirational escape from the sometimes rather too peaceful and quiet Princeton campus during the year in which I worked there. Obviously, New York City has its own fair share of problems and there is no reason to idealise life in the city, or in the United States for that matter, whatsoever. Still, to my mind, there is no better test case for social pluralist theory than this diverse place.’ The same goes for London.
This is the third post in a new series introducing my forthcoming book on Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To be Fully Human (Routledge, 2017).
For the first two posts, please see: