I have a post up at Law and Liberty on the recent report of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties.” It is not positive. A bit:
The recommendations begin with the ominous observation that civil rights protections ensuring nondiscrimination “are of preeminent importance in American jurisprudence.” Preeminent over what, exactly? That quickly becomes crystal clear: over religious freedom. Supreme Court decisions that the commissioners celebrate for reflecting this preeminence include Christian Legal Society v. Martinez (2011), EEOC v. Abercrombie and Fitch (2015), and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015). It is telling that the commission includes Abercrombie and Fitch—an utterly unremarkable case involving the interpretation of the standard for an employer’s state of mind in a disparate treatment action under Title VII—because it thereby squeezes and deforms religious freedom into the only framework it can accept or understand: nondiscrimination.
After this, we are treated to the following hodgepodge of inanity: “Schools must be allowed to insist on inclusive values.” Apparently this is meant as a defense of Martinez; but it ought to read, “schools must be allowed to insist that everybody espouse the values we have canonized.”
The commissioners go on to say that “throughout history, religious doctrines accepted at one time later become viewed as discriminatory, with religions changing accordingly.”Really? Is this statement made in promotion of “peaceful coexistence” and “reconciliation”? It sounds more like a crude bit of pseudo-history capped by a fairly direct threat.
In November, New York University Press will release Televised Redemption: Black Religious Media and Racial Empowerment by Carolyn Moxley Rouse (Princeton), John L. Jackson, Jr. (University of Pennsylvania), and Marla F. Frederick (Harvard). The publisher’s description follows:
The institutional structures of white supremacy—slavery, Jim Crow laws, convict leasing, and mass incarceration—require a commonsense belief that black people lack the moral and intellectual capacities of white people. It is through this lens of belief that racial exclusions have been justified and reproduced in the United States. Televised Redemption argues that African American religious media has long played a key role in humanizing the race by unabashedly claiming that blacks are endowed by God with the same gifts of goodness and reason as whites—if not more, thereby legitimizing black Americans’ rights to citizenship.
If racism is a form of perception, then religious media has not only altered how others perceive blacks, but has also altered how blacks perceive themselves. Televised Redemption argues that black religious media has provided black Americans with new conceptual and practical tools for how to be in the world, and changed how black people are made intelligible and recognizable as moral citizens. In order to make these claims to black racial equality, this media has encouraged dispositional changes in adherents that were at times empowering and at other times repressive. From Christian televangelism to Muslim periodicals to Hebrew Israelite radio, Televised Redemption explores the complicated but critical redemptive history of African American religious media.
In November, Brill Publishers will release Rosa Manus: The International Life and Legacy of a Jewish Dutch Feminist edited by Myriam Everard and Francisca de Haan (Central European University). The publisher’s description follows:
Rosa Manus (1881–1942) uncovers the life of Dutch feminist and peace activist Rosa Manus, co-founder of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, vice-president of the International Alliance of Women, and founding president of the International Archives for the Women’s Movement (IAV) in Amsterdam, revealing its rootedness in Manus’s radical secular Jewishness. Because the Nazis looted the IAV (1940) including Manus’s large personal archive, and subsequently arrested (1941) and murdered her (1942), Rosa Manus has been almost unknown to later generations. This collective biography offers essays based on new and in-depth research on pictures and documents from her archives, returned to Amsterdam in 2003, as well as other primary sources. It thus restores Manus to the history from which the Nazis attempted to erase her.
Contributors include: Margot Badran, Mineke Bosch, Ellen Carol DuBois, Myriam Everard, Karen Garner, Dagmar Wernitznig, and Annika Wilmers.