Mark and I are delighted to announce the second session of the CLR Reading Society, an opportunity open to all St. John’s Law students to discuss works of fiction and non-fiction raising law and religion themes.
Our choice this time is Augustine’s masterwork, The City of God, a philosophical and theological meditation on the nature of God, evil, and human existence in this world and the next. Be assured, students, that we will not read the entire thing! For those who would like to participate, Professor Movsesian and I have made some selections that will not overwhelm you while giving you a sense of the work.
St. John’s Law students interested in the CLR Reading Society should contact Professor DeGirolami, email@example.com, or Professor Movsesian, firstname.lastname@example.org. Books are provided for free to students and all are welcome. We will meet on the evening of March 31, 2021, to discuss The City of God, so students who would like to join us and require a book should write to us as soon as possible.
“A conceptual framework motivated by present concerns may distort the past, but questions about origins and foundations are surely not “temptations” but the lifeblood of historical inquiry. A methodology that cripples the ability to ask such questions needs rethinking. Historical questions and metahistorical questions are indeed different and should be kept separate, but this fact need not be taken as a source of epistemological despair. Rather it is, or it should be, a call to exercise our imaginative understanding of human phenomena in relation to the entirety of past cultures, their Lebenswelt, the long-faded structures of practical constraints and inherited values that shaped those cultures and still renders them legible, with disciplined research, to the attentive mind. In practical terms this means exercising ceaseless vigilance against anachronism: something easier said than done. To see the past in its own terms goes against our naïve or interested desire to make use of the past for our own purposes. It also requires hard work, imagination, and (dare one say it) a certain kind of love. We want to root our own identities as individuals or groups in a glorious past, or (more often these days) we want to preen ourselves on our superiority to a benighted past, and this desire sometimes blinds us to difference, to anachronism, to moral universes other than our own. But sometimes we have to transcend our own needs in order to do justice to the reality of other persons and times. And sometimes it is the truth we cannot see that is precisely the one we need.”
In this podcast, Center Co-Directors Marc DeGirolami and Mark Movsesian reflect on the religious imagery in last month’s inauguration and how it fits within the American tradition of civil religion. They also ask whether the new administration reflects the rise of the Religious Left: a political coalition of progressive believers, including progressive Catholics like President Biden himself. How stable is that coalition? Listen in!
Even in regular times, religion, law, and state coexist in tense and complex relations. Crises exacerbate the tensions and conflicts, as we saw recently, during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Various religious groups that usually comply with state law disregarded safety rules to conduct religious rituals, endangering adherents and others. Religions and states found themselves in multiple, continuous conflictual situations.
The Journal of Law, Religion and State recently published a special issue tackling such topics on law, religion and COVID-19. All articles are open access till the end of 2021 and can be found here.
The Journal of Law, Religion and State extends the submission deadline for an issue on conversion, proselytization, and secularization to March 1st, 2021. Interested scholars can submit either full papers (between 8,000-10,000 words) or short case studies (up to 4000 words). The Issue will be published in 2021.
More detailed information and additional instructions for authors are available in the attached file.
I was delighted to participate in a Religion and Law class at Regis High School, taught by AJ DeBonis. We chatted a little bit about fundamental questions of interpretive method, and then some of the primary interpretive theories the Court has used for the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause over the years. I was very impressed with the students’ insights and fund of knowledge. Well done!