At the Becket Fund’s blog, Mark Rienzi has an interesting analysis of the Abercrombie & Fitch case I discussed last week:
The decision is important for two reasons. First, it is a reminder that, in a religiously diverse country, people of different faiths will have different needs. Some workers need to wear headscarves, some need Saturdays off, some cannot assist with abortions or capital punishment. The sensible response to most of these differences is to accommodate them—to recognize that our society is filled with wonderful differences, and to find ways to work around those differences without kicking people out of their jobs.
The case is also important for arguments the Administration chose not to make. It did not argue that Ms. Khan had forfeited her religious freedom rights when she voluntarily went to work for a profit-making company. It did not say that she would only have religious liberty if she cabined her job search to Muslim religious organizations. It did not say that because she was earning money in the commercial marketplace she had somehow forfeited her right to conduct herself in accordance with her religion.
Read the whole thing.
This month, Yale University Press publishes The Huguenots, by Geoffrey Treasure. The publisher’s description follows.
Following the Reformation, a growing number of radical Protestants came together to live and worship in Catholic France. These Huguenots survived persecution and armed conflict to win—however briefly—freedom of worship, civil rights, and unique status as a protected minority. But in 1685, the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes abolished all Huguenot rights, and more than 200,000 of the radical Calvinists were forced to flee across Europe, some even farther. In this capstone work, Geoffrey Treasure tells the full story of the Huguenots’ rise, survival, and fall in France over the course of a century and a half. He explores what it was like to be a Huguenot living in a “state within a state,” weaving stories of ordinary citizens together with those of statesmen, feudal magnates, leaders of the Catholic revival, Henry of Navarre, Catherine de’ Medici, Louis XIV, and many others. Treasure describes the Huguenots’ disciplined community, their faith and courage, their rich achievements, and their unique place within Protestantism and European history. The Huguenot exodus represented a crucial turning point in European history, Treasure contends, and he addresses the significance of the Huguenot story—the story of a minority group with the power to resist and endure in one of early modern Europe’s strongest nations.
This month, Columbia University Press publishes Encountering Religion: Responsibility and Criticism After Secularism by Tyler Roberts (Grinnell College). The publisher’s description follows.
Tyler Roberts encourages scholars to abandon the conceptual opposition between “secular” and “religious” to better understand how human beings actively and thoughtfully engage with their worlds and make meaning. The artificial distinction between a self-conscious and critical “academic study of religion” and an ideological and authoritarian “religion,” he argues, only obscures the phenomenon. Instead, Roberts calls on intellectuals to approach the field as a site of “encounter” and “response,” illuminating the agency, creativity, and critical awareness of religious actors.
To respond to religion is to ask what religious behaviors and representations mean to us in our individual worlds, and scholars must confront questions of possibility and becoming that arise from testing their beliefs, imperatives, and practices. Roberts refers to the work of Hent de Vries, Eric Santner, and Stanley Cavell, each of whom exemplifies encounter and response in their writings as they traverse philosophy and religion to expose secular thinking to religious thought and practice. This approach highlights the resources religious discourse can offer to a fundamental reorientation of critical thought. In humanistic criticism after secularism, the lines separating the creative, the pious, and the critical themselves become the subject of question and experimentation.