O’Halloran on The Profits of Charity

In August of this year, Oxford University Press will publish The Profits of Charity by Kerry O’Halloran (Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies at the Queensland U. of Tech.).  The book will appeal to those with an interest in faith-based organizations. The publisher’s description follows.

The Profits of Charity examines the contemporary law governing the involvement of charity in commerce and explores the reasons why this involvement is dramatically changing. From a perspective familiar to charity lawyers, NGO managers, and scholars, Kerry O’Halloran identifies the concepts and the law underpinning charities and their profits by tracing legal developments in the field and identifying the resulting opportunities and challenges for the future. At a time when many leading nations are confronting economic recession, the threat of terrorism, and the retreat of the ‘welfare state,’ this book explores why governments are turning to charities in their quest to cultivate social capital, consolidate civil society, and promote civic engagement.

In The Profits of Charity, Professor O’Halloran undertakes a comparative analysis of the balance struck among government, charity, and commerce in five leading common law nations, including the United States, Canada, England and Wales, New Zealand, and Australia. He uses analysis of legislation, outcomes of charity law reviews, and recent case law to illustrate jurisdictional differences, and concludes with an assessment of the extent and significance of the recalibrated relationship and considers the overarching issues that arise between charity law and social policy.

Hensler on Sports at a Fundamentalist Christian University and the Nature of Tort Law

Louis W. Hensler III (Regent U. School of Law) has posted Torts as Fouls: What Sports at a Fundamentalist Christian University Taught Me About the Nature of Tort Law. The abstract follows.

This essay is largely a response to John C.P. Goldberg & Benjamin C. Zipursky, Torts as Wrongs, 88 Tex. L. Rev. 917, 918 (2010). I propose a refinement of Goldberg and Zipursky’s vision. In my view, tort is better seen, not as recourse for “wrongs,” but rather as sanction for “fouls.” In other words, tort merely forces the rule-breaker to consider the consequences of his conduct rather than prohibiting the conduct altogether by a punitive sanction. I believe this refinement solves some of the problems presented by Goldberg and Zipursky’s approach.

I first started thinking about the distinction between providing recourse against a wrongdoer and sanctioning a rule breaker while I was a participant and spectator in the intramural sports program at a fundamentalist Christian university where the intentional foul (e.g., to stop the clock while time was running out in a basketball game) was not allowed. This approach seemed generally consistent with the overarching philosophy of the school – all conduct was either right or wrong. Violating rules was wrong. Intentionally violating rules, even with a willingness to accept the sanction provided by the rules of the game, was wrong. The intentional foul was an implicit rejection of moral absolutes and acceptance of moral pragmatism. I never quite came to fully accept that view of the intentional foul. Read more

Sharia Is My Main Priority: Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Candidate

According to the Reuters FaithWorld blog, the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate for the Egyptian presidency, Khairat al-Shater, declared last week that restoring Sharia would have the highest priority in his administration. “Sharia was and always will be my first and final project and objective,” he told a group called the “Religious Association for Rights and Reform.”

One shouldn’t be surprised. Since its founding, the MB has made restoring Sharia in Muslim societies its main goal. Moreover, the idea that law should be based on Sharia is quite popular in Egypt.  Indeed, in a recent, widely-reported survey, a majority of Egyptians said that Sharia should be the only source  of law in their country.

Do comments like al-Shater’s mean that non-Muslim minorities should worry? That’s not as clear, frankly. People who say they favor “Sharia” may mean different things.  Perhaps, as Noah Feldman argues, “Sharia” in  contemporary Muslim politics suggests a more or less democratic, rule of law society informed by religious principles. Non-Muslims would not necessarily have to worry about this version of Sharia. If, however,  “Sharia” means something like classical fiqh, which placed severe restrictions on Christians and other non-Muslims, calls for its restoration are quite worrisome.

Which version does the MB endorse? The MB has been presenting a moderate face to the world. Its official English-language website contains a slew of articles attempting to reassure Egyptian Christians (and Western liberals) that minority rights would be protected under the MB’s version of a Sharia society. Like “Sharia,” however, “rights” can mean different things, and the MB will also have to assuage more militant Islamists who are not so interested in moderation. Time will tell.