The Top Five New Law & Religion Papers on SSRN

From SSRN’s list of most frequently downloaded law and religion papers posted in the last 60 days, here are the current top five.  Since last week, Balkin has moved up to #1, replacing Wenger, Alvare has moved up to #2, Perry is now at #3, Lombardi has moved up to #4, replacing Willis, and Lombardi and Brown are #5.

1.  Must We Be Faithful to Original Meaning?  by Jack M. Balkin (Yale U., Law School) [244 downloads]

2.  No Compelling Interest: The ‘Birth Control’ Mandate and Religious Freedom by Helen M. Alvare (George Mason U., School of Law) [179 downloads]

3.  The Morality of Human Rights by Michael J. Perry (Emory U., School of Law) [116 downloads]

4.  Designing Islamic Constitutions: Past Trends and Options for a Democratic Future by Clark B. Lombardi (U. of Washington, School of Law) [109 downloads]

5.  Islam in Egypt’s New Constitution by Clark B. Lombardi (U. of Washington, School of Law) and Nathan Brown (George Washington U.)     [93 downloads]


Turner, “The Religious and the Political: A Comparative Sociology of Religion”

9780521675314This June, Cambridge University Press published The Religious and the Political: A Comparative Sociology of Religion by Bryan S. Turner (CUNY). The publisher’s description follows.

While the relationships between ethics and religion, and violence and politics, are of enduring interest, the interface between religion and violence is one of the most problematic features of the contemporary world. Following in the tradition of Max Weber’s historical and comparative study of religions, this book explores the many ways in which religion and politics are both combined and separated across different world religions and societies. Through a variety of case studies including the monarchy, marriage, law and conversion, Bryan S. Turner explores different manifestations of secularization, and how the separation of church and state is either compromised or abandoned. He considers how different states manage religion in culturally and religiously diverse societies and concludes with a discussion of the contemporary problems facing the liberal theory of freedom of religion. The underlying theoretical issue is the conditions for legitimacy of rule in modern societies experiencing global changes.

Guminski, et al., “Religious Freedom: Did Vatican II Contradict Traditional Catholic Doctrine? A Debate”

41YF0TZwanL._SY346_This past April, St. Augustine’s Press published Religious Freedom: Did Vatican II Contradict Traditional Catholic Doctrine? A Debate by Arnold T. Guminski and Father Brian W. Harrison (Pontifical Catholic U. of Puerto Rico). The publisher’s description follows.

One of the gravest and most divisive issues confronting the Catholic Church in recent decades – a major factor in an ongoing institutionalized rupture between Rome and at least half a million traditionalist Catholics – is the question of whether Vatican II’s Declaration Dignitatis Humanae can be reconciled with traditional Church doctrine on religious liberty.

In this spirited exchange of essays on a topic central to our understanding of justice and human rights, Arnold Guminski and Fr. Brian Harrison debate this difficult question. Guminski argues that DH teaches that there is (and always has been) a natural right not to be prevented from publicly propagating or manifesting non-Catholic religions, subject to the exigencies of a just public order, which is to be understood as not presupposing the truth of natural or any positive religion (including Catholicism), or any supernatural considerations. Harrison disagrees. In his view, DH nowhere teaches that it is always and everywhere unjust for civil authorities to presuppose the truth of Roman Catholicism in determining what restrictions a just public order allows.

According to Harrison, the central innovative feature of DH is its clearly implied prudential policy judgment, or norm of ecclesiastical public law, to the effect that in the modern world – so very different from the old Christendom – repression of the public propagation or manifestation of non-Catholic religions as such can no longer be justified by the requirements of the common good. Harrison argues that precisely because this undeniable reversal of the Church’s previous position belongs in the category of changeable prudential judgments, it does not constitute a doctrinal rupture with Catholic tradition. Guminski, on the other hand, contends that the doctrine of DH, properly understood, is inconsistent with relevant preconciliar doctrine. The latter, in his view, was never proposed definitively – i.e., infallibly.

Both authors agree to a comprehensive theory of the nature and scope of the Church’s inherent coercive power as it pertains to liberty in religious matters. They agree that this power is limited to the imposition of spiritual penalties and temporal penalties, and that the Church’s inherent coercive power nevertheless must be exercised within the limits of a just public order.