The Hoover Institution at Stanford has reprinted my interview with Samuel Tadros, author of Motherland Lost: The Egyptian and Coptic Quest for Modernity. In the interview, Tadros answers questions about the history of the Coptic Church, its important contributions to Christian thought and life, and its conduct during the Arab conquest and under Muslim rule. He describes how the liberalism of the twentieth century actually injured the Church and why Anwar Sadat, whom the West lionized, was a problem for Egypt’s Christians. Moving to the present day, he explains why the Arab Spring has been such a disaster for Copts and speaks about the Church’s prospects in Egypt and abroad.
This semester, the Center for Law and Religion at St. John’s and Villanova Law School are teaming up to host the Joint Colloquium in Law and Religion. The course invites leading law and religion scholars to make presentations to an audience of selected students and faculty. The schools will be connected in real time by video link so that students and faculty at both schools can participate in a virtual classroom experience. At St. John’s, the colloquium will be hosted by Mark Movsesian and Marc DeGirolami, the Director and Associate Director of the Center. Vice Dean and Professor Michael Moreland will host at Villanova.
The following speakers have confirmed:
January 27, 2014 (at St. John’s)
Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study
The Ethics of Warfare in the Jewish Tradition
February 10, 2014 (at Villanova)
Sarah Barringer Gordon, University of Pennsylvania Law School
The African Supplement: Religion, Race, and Corporate Law in the Early Republic
February 24, 2014 (at St. John’s)
Kent Greenawalt, Columbia Law School
Original Understanding: What is Relevant and How Much Does It Matter?
March 17, 2014 (at St. John’s)
Donald L. Drakeman, Cambridge University
Which Original Meaning of the Establishment Clause is the Right One?
March 31, 2014 (at St. John’s)
Kristine Kalanges, Notre Dame Law School
Transcendence and the Just Order
April 14, 2014 (at Villanova)
Steven D. Smith, University of San Diego Law School
Some interesting law & religion stories from around the web this week:
- On Thursday, a United Nations panel questioned the Vatican on its handling of decades of reports of clergy sex abuse.
- Egyptian voters overwhelmingly passed a new constitution that deletes Islamic language written into the basic law approved a year ago and strengthens the power of the army, the police, and the judiciary
- Egypt’s Christians rallied behind the new constitution which bans political parties based on religion, gives women equal rights, and protects the status of minority Christians
- The United States Justice Department will significantly expand its definition of racial profiling to prohibit federal agents from considering religion, national origin, gender, and sexual orientation in their investigations
- A federal appeals court ruled that three University of Notre Dame students, who want the school’s health insurance to cover birth control, can intervene on the side of the federal government in a university-filed lawsuit that challenges parts of the Affordable Care Act
- A bill that would ban the use of Nazi symbols passed its preliminary reading in the Israeli Knesset over objections that it would pose constitutional problems
- On Monday, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case involving an Arizona law that would implement a ban on most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The decision leaves in place the judgment of the federal appeals court striking down the law
- The Supreme Court expressed doubt about a Massachusetts law that mandates a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics. The transcript of the oral argument is here
- According to a new Pew Research Center Report, violence and discrimination against religious groups by governments and rival faiths have reached new highs in all regions of the world except the Americas
- A federal judge in Oklahoma ruled that the state’s constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage violated the federal constitution
- The American Atheists have filed an action in federal court against the Oklahoma State Capitol Preservation Commission challenging the 10 Commandments monument erected in 2012 on the Oklahoma State Capitol grounds
- Britain has granted asylum to a Muslim-raised Afghan man who came to Britain as a teen and lost his faith. He argued that because he is an atheist, he might face a death sentence if forced to return to his native country
This February, Springer will publish The Church of England – Charity Law and Human Rights by Kerry O’Halloran (Queensland University of Technology). The publisher’s description follows.
This book examines the interface between religion, charity law and human rights. It does so by treating the Church of England and its current circumstances as a timely case study providing an opportunity to examine the tensions that have now become such a characteristic feature of that interface.
Firstly, it suggests that the Church is the primary source of canon law principles that have played a formative role in shaping civic morality throughout the common law jurisdictions: the history of their emergence and enforcement by the State in post-Reformation England is recorded and assessed. Secondly, it reveals that of such principles those of greatest weight were associated with matters of sexuality: in particular, for centuries, family law was formulated and applied with regard for the sanctity of the heterosexual marital family which provided the only legally permissible context for any form of sexual relationship. Thirdly, given that history, it identifies and assesses the particular implications that now arise for the Church as a consequence of recent charity law reform outcomes and human rights case law developments: a comparative analysis of religion related case law is provided. Finally, following an outline of the structure and organizational functions of the Church, a detailed analysis is undertaken of its success in engaging with these issues in the context of the Lambeth Conferences, the wider Anglican Communion and in the ill-fated Covenant initiative.
From the perspective of the dilemmas currently challenging the moral authority of the Church of England, this book identifies and explores the contemporary ‘moral imperatives’ or red line issues that now threaten the coherence of Christian religions in most leading common law nations. Gay marriage and abortion are among the host of morally charged and deeply divisive topics demanding a reasoned response and leadership from religious bodies. Attention is given to the judicial interpretation and evaluation of these and other issues that now undermine the traditional role of the Church of England. As the interface between religion, charity law and human rights becomes steadily more fractious, with religious fundamentalism and discrimination acquiring a higher profile, there is now a pressing need for a more balanced relationship between those with and those without religious beliefs. This book will be an invaluable aid in starting the process of achieving a triangulated relationship between the principles of canon law, charity law and human rights law.
This January, Routledge published Studying Islam in Practice edited by Gabriele Marranci (Macquarie University). The publisher’s description follows.
This book presents Islam as a lived religion through observation and discussion of how Muslims from a variety of countries, traditions and views practice their religion. It conveys the experiences of researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds and demonstrates the dynamic and heterogeneous world of Islam. The fascinating case studies range from Turkey, Egypt, Morocco and Lebanon to the UK, USA, Australia and Indonesia, and cover topics such as music, art, education, law, gender and sexuality. Together they will help students understand how research into religious practice is carried out, and what issues and challenges arise.