On January 31st, the Columbia Club of New York will host a reception and presentation by David L. Holmes about current, past, and future American presidents and the role of religion in American public life. More information follows below:
The Columbia Club is proud to present David L. Holmes ’71, and his presentation on the religion of past presidents and an analysis on the religion of President-elect, Donald Trump. Morality, values and faith play integral roles in American politics. Beginning with Dwight Eisenhower’s background in the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Richard Nixon’s secret Unitarianism and Bill Clinton’s Saturday night/Sunday morning personae, David L. Holmes will conclude by discussing the religious faith of the nation’s newly inaugurated 45th president.
To learn more, and to register, please visit this page.
In March, Baylor University Press will release “Jewish Justice: The Contested Limits of Nature, Law, and Covenant,” by David Novak (University of Toronto). The publisher’s description follows:
In Jewish Justice David Novak explores the continuing role of Judaism for crafting ethics, politics, and theology. Drawing on sources as diverse as the Bible, the Talmud, and ancient, medieval, and modern philosophy, Novak asserts Judaism’s integral place in communal discourse of the public square.
According to Novak, biblical revelation has universal implications—that it is ultimately God’s law to humanity because humans made in God’s image are capable of making intelligent moral choices. The universality of this claim, however, stands in tension with the particularities of Jewish monotheism (one God, one people, one law). Novak’s challenge is for Judaism to capitalize on the way God’s law transcends particularity without destroying difference. Thus it is as Jews that Jews are called to join communities across the faithful denominations, as well as secular ones, to engage in debates about the common good.
Jewish Justice follows a logical progression from grounded ethical quandaries to larger philosophical debates. Novak begins by considering the practical issues of capital punishment, mutilation and torture, corporate crime, the landed status of communities and nations, civil marriage, and religious marriage. He next moves to a consideration of theoretical concerns: God’s universal justice, the universal aim of particular Jewish ethics, human rights and the image of God, the relation of post-Enlightenment social contract theory to the recently enfranchised Jewish community, and the voices of Jewish citizens in secular politics and the public sphere. Novak also explores the intersection of universality and particularity by examining the practice of interfaith dialogue among Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
In March, the Columbia University Press will release “Faithful to Secularism: The Religious Politics of Democracy in Ireland, Senegal, and the Philippines,” by David Buckley (University of Louisville). The publisher’s description follows:
Religion and democracy can make tense bedfellows. Secular elites may view religious movements as conflict-prone and incapable of compromise, while religious actors may fear that anticlericalism will drive religion from public life. Yet such tensions are not inevitable: from Asia to Latin America, religious actors coexist with, and even help to preserve, democracy.
In Faithful to Secularism, David T. Buckley argues that political institutions that encourage an active role for public religion are a key part in explaining this variation. He develops the concept of “benevolent secularism” to describe institutions that combine a basic division of religion and state with extensive room for participation of religious actors in public life. He traces the impact of benevolent secularism on religious and secular elites, both at critical junctures in state formation and as politics evolves over time. Buckley shows how religious and secular actors build credibility and shared norms over time, and explains how such coalitions can endure challenges from both religious revivals and periods of anticlericalism. Faithful to Secularism tests this institutional theory in Ireland, Senegal, and the Philippines, using a blend of archival, interview, and public opinion data. These case studies illustrate how even countries with an active religious majority can become and remain faithful to secularism.