Nasab and Meghdadi on Human Rights Education in Muslim Societies

Ahmad Erfani Nasab (Mofid University Legal Clinic) and Mohammad Mahdi Meghdadi (Mofid University) have posted Muslim Clerics and Leadership in Human Rights Education in Muslim Societies. The abstract follows.

Several human rights instruments have declared that human rights education is a fundamental right for all. However, human rights education in Muslim societies is still facing serious challenges most of which arise from lack of effective educational methods. Our research shows that Muslim clerics can be considered as leaders of human rights education in Muslim societies, playing an important role in addressing and dealing with most of the challenges and enhancing universal culture of human rights. The findings indicate that in an effective human rights education method resulting in flexible, accessible, acceptable and sustainable human rights, Muslim clerics can be considered to play an active role. In addition, the results highlight that this educational method can promote, localize and institutionalize human rights in such societies and can help prevent and resolve the possible conflicts between religious and human rights discourses.

Huq on Private Religious Discrimination and the First Amendment

Aziz Z. Huq (University of Chicago Law School) has posted Private Religious Discrimination, National Security, and the First Amendment. The abstract follows.

This essay identifies a negative feedback loop between private discrimination directed at American Muslims and security against terrorism. The first part of the loop is familiar: Concerns about terrorism animate greater antipathy toward outsiders. The second part is novel: social discrimination corrodes trust in the police and makes cooperation with police less likely. Insecurity thus creates discrimination, which deepens insecurity. The Religion Clauses of the First Amendment, now greatly weakened, still provide one tool to break this negative feedback loop.

DeGroff on Parental Rights and Public Education

The article, Parental Rights and Public School Curricula: Revisiting Mozert after 20 years, by Professor Eric A. DeGroff of Regent University School of Law, has been reposted to SSRN.  Originally published in 2009, Prof. DeGroff’s article revisits the jurisprudence of balancing parents’ recognized right to direct their childrens’ education and upbringing under the Due Process and Free Exercise clauses against states’ interest in compelling school attendance and determining their own curricula.  See Mozert v. Hawkins County Bd. Educ., 827 F.2d 1058 (6th Cir. 1987).  See also Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972).  Detailing recent circuit inconsistency on the issue, DeGroff argues that courts should exercise heightened judicial scrutiny when state curricular requirements conflict with parental rights.

Please see the abstract after the jump. Read more

Mormons, Evangelicals, and the Republican Primaries

The New York Times reported recently that the budding Republican primaries have sparked Evangelical unease toward Mormonism (an unease reminiscent of the 2008 Republican primary fight).  According to Correspondent Laurie Goodstein, Mitt Romney’s lead after the New Hampshire Primary might flag as the primaries move from the Northeast into South Carolina and Florida—favoring, possibly, Rick Santorum, who is popular among Evangelicals.  Ms. Goodstein cites the anti-Mormon preaching of the Rev. R. Philip Roberts, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Rev. Roberts advances a view apparently shared by a certain coterie of Evangelicals that Mormonism is a threatening, apostatical religion.  According to Rev. Roberts, a Romney presidency would legitimize Mormonism and pave the way for an increase in Mormon proselytism, something he and like-minded believers fear.

The term “Evangelical” encompasses a broad range of beliefs and attitudes, so any generalization about them is suspect.  But the Pew Forum reports that 15% of white Evangelical Republicans would not vote for Romney simply because of Romney’s Mormonism—a relatively small proportion  in a general election but one more decisive in a primary.  Thus, Ms. Goodstein’s article illustrates just how much a candidate’s religion alone may deter voters, notwithstanding the candidate’s political views.

Update (Jan. 20):  HarperCollins recently released a new biography of Mitt Romney, The Real Romney, by Boston Globe reporters Michael Kranish and Scott Helman that explores the Romney family’s ties to the early Latter Day Saints Movement.