Here’s something that makes me wish I had a research leave coming up. The Center for Theological Inquiry in Princeton, New Jersey, has announced a year-long project on law and religious freedom, which it will host in cooperation with Princeton University’s program in law and public affairs:
From the beginnings of human society, religion has shaped lives, formed identities, and held communities together. In the modern world, religious freedom is both a demand of individual conscience and a requirement of social peace. Religious diversity and religious conflict force governments and societies to ask, “How much religious freedom can we allow?” New inquiries in history, anthropology, psychology, and sociology suggest that religion remains essential to human identity and social cohesion, even in a modern, pluralistic society. Perhaps, then, the question is also, “How much religious freedom do we require?” Answering those questions invites critical thinking about how a rule of law that preserves religious freedom can be reconciled with the requirements of many different religions. This calls for a series of interrelated theological inquiries in an interdisciplinary context:
• Do religious traditions sustain their own distinctive ideas of religious freedom?
• What internal limits do religious traditions impose on religious constraint?
• What forms of public activity (worship, education, charity, etc.) are essential to religious life?
• Is there a general understanding of religious freedom that can be formulated as a universal human right? Or does religious freedom necessarily take different forms in different contexts?
• How does the right to religious freedom relate to other rights?
The Center is soliciting applications for resident research fellowships, funded by the John Templeton Foundation. Details are here.