Religious Communities as Disruptive Competitors

Last fall, Barak Richman and I had a friendly exchange on this blog about whether antitrust law should apply to restrictive practices governing rabbinical hiring.  Our debate raised the question of whether antitrust norms are appropriate for regulating competition within religious organizations.  Two recent judicial decisions, one involving Benedictine monks in Louisiana and the other involving a Hutterite colony in Montana, raise questions about commercial competition between religious and secular organizations.

The Benedictine monks case arose out of  Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed part of the St. Joseph’s Abbey’s pine timberlands.  The abbey traditionally harvested pines to support itself.  In need of an alternative source of income, the monks decided to get into the casket business, hand-making two models of “blessed” pine caskets in their workshop.  Before they had sold a single casket, the monks received a cease and desist order from the Read more

Carey, “God’s Empire: Religion and Colonialism in the British World, c.1801-1908”

One of my research interests not obviously connected to law and religion involves the thought of the important late nineteenth-century British judge, colonial administrator, essayist, and all around force of nature, Sir James Fitzjames Stephen (see here and here).  But as I’ve examined his ideas, it’s become clear to me how important the relationship of the state and religion was to his general view of law and politics.

I’m therefore looking forward to checking out this book by Hilary M. CareyGod's Empire
(University of Newcastle, New South Wales), God’s Empire: Religion and Colonialism in the British World, c.1801-1908 (Cambridge University Press 2013), whose focus seems in part to be the Victorian period.  The publisher’s description follows.

In God’s Empire, Hilary M. Carey charts Britain’s nineteenth-century transformation from Protestant nation to free Christian empire through the history of the colonial missionary movement. This wide-ranging reassessment of the religious character of the second British empire provides a clear account of the promotional strategies of the major churches and church parties which worked to plant settler Christianity in British domains. Based on extensive use of original archival and rare published sources, the author explores major debates such as the relationship between religion and colonization, church-state relations, Irish Catholics in the empire, the impact of the Scottish Disruption on colonial Presbyterianism, competition between Evangelicals and other Anglicans in the colonies, and between British and American strands of Methodism in British North America.

Norwood, “Antisemitism and the American Far Left”

Here’s a study in the twentieth century history of American politics, Antisemitism and the American Far LeftAntisemitism and the American Far Left (Cambridge University Press 2013), by Stephen H. Norwood (Oklahoma).  The publisher’s description follows.

Stephen H. Norwood has written the first systematic study of the American far left’s role in both propagating and combating antisemitism. This book covers Communists from 1920 onward, Trotskyists, the New Left and its black nationalist allies, and the contemporary remnants of the New Left. Professor Norwood analyzes the deficiencies of the American far left’s explanations of Nazism and the Holocaust. He explores far left approaches to militant Islam, from condemnation of its fierce antisemitism in the 1930s to recent apologies for jihad. Norwood discusses the far left’s use of long-standing theological and economic antisemitic stereotypes that the far right also embraced. The study analyzes the far left’s antipathy to Jewish culture, as well as its occasional efforts to promote it. He considers how early Marxist and Bolshevik paradigms continued to shape American far left views of Jewish identity, Zionism, Israel, and antisemitism.