The Helen and Elinor Nootbar Institute on Law, Religion and Ethics at Pepperdine has issued a call for papers for an upcoming conference, “Love and Law: What Would Law Be Like if We Organized It Around the Value of Christian Love [Agape]?” The conference, which already has quite an impressive lineup of speakers, will take place in Malibu on February 7-8, 2014. Details are here.
Some interesting law & religion stories from around the web this week:
- Religion News Service asks a panel of theologians and policy experts whether the United States should intervene in Syria, considering Just War doctrine and America’s moral responsibility
- Christian communities in the Middle East are reported to be unanimous in opposition to Western military intervention in Syria
- The Egyptian military has enlisted Muslim scholars to persuade soldiers and policemen that they have a religious duty to obey orders and use deadly force against supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi
- An NPR segment on the plight of the Arab world’s Christians
- Egypt has widened crackdowns on dissenters, as well as the definition of “Islamist”
- California will compensate an atheist parolee after state authorities returned him to jail for refusing to participate in a religiously-oriented rehab program
- The Church of Scientology is building a multi-million dollar chapel and community center in East Harlem, part of a new effort to expand the church’s base from Hollywood to urban areas
- Worried they could be sued by gay couples, some churches are changing their bylaws to reflect their view that the Bible only allows marriage between a man and a woman
- North Carolina has become the seventh state explicitly to prohibit Sharia law interpretation in court
- Iran warns that American intervention in Syria would stoke “the flames of outrage of the region’s revolutionaries”
- Berger on the “excision of the supernatural from the Christian message” in mainline Protestantism (from last week)
This September, Oxford University Press will publish In Defence of War by Nigel Biggar (University of Oxford). The publisher’s description follows.
Pacifism is popular. Many hold that war is unnecessary, since peaceful means of resolving conflict are always available, if only we had the will to look for them. Or they believe that war is wicked, essentially involving hatred of the enemy and carelessness of human life. Or they posit the absolute right of innocent individuals not to be deliberately killed, making it impossible to justify war in practice.
Peace, however, is not simple. Peace for some can leave others at peace to perpetrate mass atrocity. What was peace for the West in 1994 was not peace for the Tutsis of Rwanda. Therefore, against the virus of wishful thinking, anti-military caricature, and the domination of moral deliberation by rights-talk In Defence of War asserts that belligerency can be morally justified, even though tragic and morally flawed.
Recovering the Christian tradition of reflection running from Augustine to Grotius, this book affirms aggressive war in punishment of grave injustice. Morally realistic in adhering to universal moral principles, it recognises that morality can trump legality, justifying military intervention even in transgression of positive international law-as in the case of Kosovo. Less cynical and more empirically realistic about human nature than Hobbes, it holds that nations desire to be morally virtuous and right, and not only to be safe and fat. And aspiring to practical realism, it argues that love and the doctrine of double effect can survive combat; and that the constraints of proportionality, while real, are nevertheless sufficiently permissive to encompass Britain’s belligerency in 1914-18. Finally, in a painstaking analysis of the Iraq invasion of 2003, In Defence of War culminates in an account of how the various criteria of just war should be thought together. It also concludes that, all things considered, the invasion was justified.
This October, Springer will publish Secularism and Religion in Multi-Faith Societies: The Case of India by Ragini Sen (Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi), Wolfgang Wagner (J. Kepler University of Linz), and Caroline Howarth (London School of Economics and Political Science). The publisher’s description follows.
This Brief looks at the illustrative case of the Hindu-Muslim conflict in India, with the aim of understanding the dynamics of lived secularism as it exists in traditional multi-faith societies such as India. The data analyzed in this Brief comprise many interviews, conducted amidst Hindus and Muslims, with respondents of both sexes living in slum and middle class regions in the city of Mumbai. The volume begins by giving a brief summary of the historical and cultural background to the present situation in India. It then traces complementarities and similarities of opinions across diverse constituencies which cluster around three main anchoring points: communication, re-presentations and operationalizing of a shared dream. The first point explores the need to understand and to be understood, encourages processes of mutual acculturation, and describes the sensitive decoding of cultural symbols such as dress codes. The second point discusses changes in mind sets and mutual perceptions, where Muslims and Islam are portrayed in a balanced way and exploitation of religion for political purposes is stopped. The third main point is the involvement of the common, regular person, and a focus on children, as the unifying hope for the future.
Throughout the volume, emphasis is on moral maturation, cultural interpretation in lieu of cultural imposition and creation of a sensitive media policy. The issues raised may help craft interdisciplinary and international frameworks, which address conflict resolution in culturally diverse multi-faith societies. Accordingly, the book concludes with policy recommendations for supporting the peaceful coexistence of secularism and religion in society from a peace psychological perspective.