Supreme Court Vacates Seventh Circuit’s Opinion in Notre Dame Challenge to the Contraception Mandate

A noteworthy cert. grant, vacate, and remand (“GVR”) by the Supreme Court yesterday. Notre Dame’s challenge is to the “accommodation” accorded by the Obama Administration to nonprofit organizations with religious objections to the contraception mandate. To say that the Seventh Circuit’s panel decision (authored by Judge Posner, joined by Judge Hamilton, and with a dissent by Judge Flaum) against Notre Dame was deeply skeptical of the claimant’s objection would understate matters. The fact that the Supreme Court has vacated that decision and remanded the case for reconsideration in light of the Court’s Hobby Lobby decision is interesting.

“Psychology of Religion in Turkey” (Ağılkaya-Şahin et al., eds.)

In May, Brill will release “Psychology of Religion in Turkey” edited by Zuhâl Ağılkaya-Şahin (Izmir Katip Çelebi University), Heinz Streib (University of Bielenfeld), Ali Ayten (Marmara University), and Ralph W. Hood, Jr. (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga). The publisher’s description follows:

In Psychology of Religion in Turkey, senior and emerging Turkish scholars present critical conceptual analyses and empirical studies devoted to the Psychology of Religion in Turkey. Parts 1 and 2 consist of articles placing the psychology of religion in historical context of an ancient culture undergoing modernization and secularization and articles devoted to the uniqueness of Islam among the great faith traditions. Part 3 is devoted to empirical studies of religion and positive outcomes related to health and virtues while part 4 is devoted to empirical studies on social outcomes of religious commitment in Turkey. Finally, part 5 is devoted to the issues of religiousness and spirituality, including two studies focused upon Turkish Sufism.

Rahnema, “Shi’i Reformation in Iran: The Life and Theology of Shari’at Sangelaji”

In May, Ashgate Press will release “Shi’i Reformation in Iran: The Life and Theology of Shari’at Sangelaji” by Ali Rahnema (The American University of Paris). The publisher’s description follows:

Shi ‘ism caught the attention of the world as Iran experienced her revolution in 1979 and was subsequently cast in the mold of a monolithic discourse of radical political Islam. The spokespersons of Shi’i Islam, in or out of power, have not been the sole representatives of the faith. Nonconformist and uncompromising, the Shi‘i jurist and reformist Shari’at Sangelaji (1891–1944) challenged certain popular Shi‘i beliefs and the mainstream clerical establishment, guarding and propagating it. In Shi’i Reformation in Iran, Ali Rahnema offers a fresh understanding of Sangelaji’s reformist discourse from a theological standpoint, and takes readers into the heart of the key religious debates in Iran in the 1940s. Exploring Sangelaji’s life, theological position and disputations, Rahnema demonstrates that far from being change resistant, debates around why and how to reform the faith have long been at the heart of Shi’i Islam.

Drawing on the writings and sermons of Sangelaji, as well as interviews with his son, the book provides a detailed and comprehensive introduction to the reformist’s ideas. As such it offers scholars of religion and Middle Eastern politics alike a penetrating insight into the impact that these ideas have had on Shi’ism—an impact which is still felt today.