Religious Freedom and the Supreme Court: A Conversation with Judge Richard Sullivan (Oct. 27)

220px-Richard_J._SullivanThe Center for Law and Religion invites you to join us for a conversation with United States District Judge Richard J. Sullivan (left) about current and potential issues before the U.S. Supreme Court involving religious freedom. Topics will include the ongoing contraception mandate litigation, conflicts between the rights of same-sex couples and rights of religious conscience, and the future of religious freedom in the United States. Light refreshments will be provided.

The event will take place on  Tuesday, October 27, 2015, from 6-8 p.m., at the offices of Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett,  425 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10017. It will be hosted by Mary Kay Vyskocil, St. John’s Law Class of ’83. The event is free, but space is limited and advance registration is required. To attend, please RSVP to Jean Nolan at 718-990-8059 or nolanj@stjohns.edu by October 21, 2015.

Welcome to Gerald Russello

Mark and I are delighted to welcome Gerald Russello to the Forum as our guest Gerald Russello
for the next month or so. Gerald is a partner at an international business law firm, where he has specialized in securities enforcement and regulatory matters. But he also has a “second life” as a frequent and thoughtful commenter on many matters of immediate concern to our readers. I’ve learned greatly from his incisive essays. And he is the tireless editor of The University Bookman, the arm of the Russell Kirk Center For Cultural Renewal devoted to essays and reviews about books that “diagnose the modern age and support the renewal of culture and the common good.”

Welcome Gerald!!

Mislin, “Saving Faith”

In October, the Cornell University Press will release “Saving Faith: Making Religious Pluralism an American Value at the Dawn of the Secular Age,” by David Mislin (Temple University).  The publisher’s description follows:

In Saving Faith, David Mislin chronicles the transformative historical moment when Americans began to reimagine their nation as one strengthened by the diverse faiths of its peoples. Between 1875 and 1925, liberal Protestant leaders abandoned religious exclusivism and leveraged their considerable cultural influence to push others to do the same. This reorientation came about as an ever-growing group of Americans found their religious faith under attack on social, intellectual, and political fronts. A new generation of outspoken agnostics assailed the very foundation of belief, while noted intellectuals embraced novel spiritual practices and claimed that Protestant Christianity had outlived its usefulness.

Faced with these grave challenges, Protestant clergy and their allies realized that the successful defense of religion against secularism required a defense of all religious traditions. They affirmed the social value—and ultimately the religious truth—of Catholicism, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. They also came to view doubt and uncertainty as expressions of faith. Ultimately, the reexamination of religious difference paved the way for Protestant elites to reconsider ethnic, racial, and cultural difference. Using the manuscript collections and correspondence of leading American Protestants, as well the institutional records of various churches and religious organizations, Mislin offers insight into the historical constructions of faith and doubt, the interconnected relationship of secularism and pluralism, and the enormous influence of liberal Protestant thought on the political, cultural, and spiritual values of the twentieth-century United States.

“The Polygamy Question” (eds. Bennion and Joffe)

In November, the Utah State University Press will release “The Polygamy Question,” edited by Janet Bennion (Lyndon State College) and Lisa Fishbayn Joffe (Brandeis University).  The publisher’s description follows:

The practice of polygamy occupies a unique place in North American history and has had a profound effect on its legal and social development. The Polygamy Question explores the ways in which indigenous and immigrant polygamy have shaped the lives of individuals, communities, and the broader societies that have engaged with it. The book also considers how polygamy challenges our traditional notions of gender and marriage and how it might be effectively regulated to comport with contemporary notions of justice.

The contributors to this volume—scholars of law, anthropology, sociology, political science, economics, and religious studies—disentangle diverse forms of polygamy and polyamory practiced among a range of religious and national backgrounds including Mormon and Muslim. They chart the harms and benefits these models have on practicing women, children, and men, whether they are independent families or members of coherent religious groups. Contributors also address the complexities of evaluating this form of marriage and the ethical and legal issues surrounding regulation of the practice, including the pros and cons of legalization.

Plural marriage is the next frontier of North American marriage law and possibly the next civil rights battlefield. Students and scholars interested in polygamy, marriage, and family will find much of interest in The Polygamy Question.