Zucca on Freedom of Religion as an International Human Right

Lorenzo Zucca (King’s College London) has published Prince or Pariah? The Place of Freedom of Religion in a System of International Human Rights, as part of the Working Paper Series produced by the ReligioWest project at the European University Institute. The abstract follows:

The human right to freedom of religion (HRFR) at the international level is a deeply contested concept and is interpreted in radically different ways in the respective historical constitutional instruments of the US and Europe. It is, for example, embedded in the First Amendment of the American
Constitution, but finds no explicit recognition in the French Declaration of Rights. The question that emerges from this simple starting point is: what is the place of freedom of religion in a system of protection of international human rights? Is there a single answer to this question, or is it a deeply contingent matter that depends on discrete constitutional histories? This paper attempts to unravel this deeply contentious issue, which goes to the very core of disagreement about the nature of the human
rights to freedom of religion. Lacking agreement as to what constitutes freedom of religion, international intervention should limit itself to the bare minimum in this area. This renders freedom of religion a pariah at the international level.

Third Circuit Denies Rehearing En Banc in Corporate Free Exercise Case

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit denied rehearing en banc in Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The vote was 7 to 5.

In light of the many problems with Judge Cowen’s opinion for the panel majority as well as the circuit split that is developing over the issue of corporate free exercise of religion (for constitutional and statutory purposes) and the dichotomous confusions that the issue is generating (religious vs. secular, for-profit vs. non-profit), it would not be surprising if one or more of these cases found their way to the Supreme Court relatively soon. On the other hand, these kinds of predictions have an uncanny way of being wrong.

Movsesian & DeGirolami at ICLARS Conference Next Week

Next week, Marc DeGirolami and I will be participating in the biannual conference of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, which will take place at the University of Virginia and William and Mary Law School. I’ll present a paper on the rise of the Nones and moderate a panel on religious symbols and public reason. Marc will present a paper on “Judging Theory” (co-authored with former CLR Forum Guest Kevin Walsh). Some other CLR Forum Guests will also be presenting papers, including Perry Dane, Michael Helfand, and Barak Richman. Details are here. If you’re in the area, stop by and say hello!

Fox, “An Introduction to Religion and Politics”

This April, Routledge published An Introduction to Religion and Politics: Theory and Practice by 9780415676328Jonathan Fox (Bar-llan University, Israel). The publisher’s description follows.

An Introduction to Religion and Politics offers a comprehensive overview of the many theories of religion and politics, and provides students with an accessible but in-depth account of the most significant debates, issues and methodologies. Fox examines the ways in which religion influences politics, analyses the current key issues and provides a state of the art account of religion and politics, highlighting the diversity in state religion policies around the world.

Topics covered include:

    • Secularism and secularization
    • Religious identity
    • Religious worldviews, beliefs, doctrines and theologies
    • Religious legitimacy
    • Religious institutions and mobilization
    • Rational and functional religion
    • Religious fundamentalism
    • Conflict, violence and terror

This work combines theoretical analysis with data on the religion policies of 177 governments, showing that while most of the world’s government support religion and many restrict it; true neutrality on the issue of religion is extremely rare. Religion is becoming an inescapable issue in politics.

This work will be essential reading for all students of religion and politics, and will also be of great interest to those studying related subjects such as comparative politics, international relations and war and conflict studies.

Seo, “State Management of Religion in Indonesia”

This June, Routledge published State Management of Religion in Indonesia by 9780415517164Myengkyo Seo (University of Cambridge). The publisher’s description follows.

Although Indonesia is generally considered to be a Muslim state, and is indeed the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, it has a sizeable Christian minority as a legacy of Dutch colonialism, with Christians often occupying relatively high social positions. This book examines the management of religion in Indonesia. It discusses how Christianity has developed in Indonesia, how the state, though Muslim in outlook and culture, is nevertheless formally secular, and how the principal Christian church, the Java Christian Church, has adapted its practices to fit local circumstances. It examines religious violence and charts the evolution of the state’s religious policies, analyzing in particular the impact of the 1974 Marriage Law showing how it enabled extensive state regulation, but how in practice, rather than reinforcing religious divisions, inter-religious marriage, involving the conversion of one party, is widespread. Overall, the book shows how Indonesia is developing its own brand of secularism, neither a full-blooded Islamic state like Saudi Arabia, nor an outright secular state like Turkey.