Andrea Pin (University of Padua – Faculty of Law) has posted Public Schools, the Italian Crucifix, and the European Court of Human Rights: The Italian Separation of Church and State. The abstract follows. – ARH
The recent judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (“ECHR”) with regard to the presence of the Catholic symbol of the crucifix in Italian public schools are just the latest episodes of the ongoing juridical and political struggle for the secularization of the Italian state. This debate involves the interpretation and the enactment of the Italian Constitution as well as the political and cultural trends that shape the Italian public debate about the public role of religion.
The decisions of the ECHR, which operates in Strasbourg, pushed the debate further: from the interpretation of the Italian Constitution to the respect for international treaties. In the first degree, the Court found Italy’s policy of displaying crucifixes in public schools violated Article 9 of the 1950 Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“European Convention on Human Rights”) that protects the right to freedom of religion. The popular and political criticisms of the judgment were immediate and forceful throughout Italian public discourse, because a majority in Italian society supports the presence of the crucifix in public schools. Read more
The Restoration of the Stuart Dynasty in 1660 led to the Glorious Revolution in 1688, which, in turn, figured prominently in the iconography of the American Revolution 100 years later. Jacqueline Rose (University of St. Andrews) has published a new book on church-state relations during the Restoration, Godly Kingship in Restoration England (Cambridge University Press 2011) that looks quite interesting. The publisher’s description follows. — MLM
The position of English monarchs as supreme governors of the Church of England profoundly affected early modern politics and religion. This innovative book explores how tensions in church-state relations created by Henry VIII’s Reformation continued to influence relationships between the crown, parliament and common law during the Restoration, a distinct phase in England’s ‘long Reformation’. Debates about the powers of kings and parliaments, the treatment of Dissenters and emerging concepts of toleration were viewed through a Reformation prism where legitimacy depended on godly status. This book discusses how the institutional, legal and ideological framework of supremacy perpetuated the language of godly kingship after 1660 and how supremacy was complicated by the ambivalent Tudor legacy. It was manipulated by not only Anglicans, but also tolerant kings and intolerant parliaments, Catholics, Dissenters and radicals like Thomas Hobbes. Invented to uphold the religious and political establishments, supremacy paradoxically ended up subverting them.
Richard Albert (Boston College Law School) has posted The Constitutional Politics of the Establishment Clause. This article is based on his remarks at “The Future of the Establishment Clause in Context: Neutrality, Religion, or Avoidance?” a symposium recently held at Duquesne University School of Law. Here is an earlier post on that Symposium. The abstract of Albert’s article follows. – ARH
In these reflections presented at a Symposium hosted by Duquesne University School of Law on “The Future of the Establishment Clause in Context: Neutrality, Religion, or Avoidance?” I examine the constitutional politics driving the interpretation of the Establishment Clause. I suggest that the Supreme Court’s recent case law on taxpayer standing may signal a return to the founding design of the Establishment Clause. At the founding, the Establishment Clause constrained the actions of only the national government, disabled only Congress from establishing a religion, and vigorously protected the sovereignty of states. Each of these three signposts – national interdiction, congressional disability, and state sovereignty – may yet again soon hold true if the Supreme Court continues on what appears to be its current path toward de-incorporating the Establishment Clause.
Marc, that’s all well and good about Messiaen, but for the source of contemporary Christian music in America, you need to check out Godspell, currently in revival on Broadway. At least that’s what Mark Oppenheimer of the New York Times thinks. — MLM