On the Armenian Question and Mideast Christians Today

At the Liberty Law blog this morning, I have an essay on historian Charles Laderman’s fine new book, Sharing the Burden: The Armenian Question, Humanitarian Intervention, and Anglo-American Visions of Global Order. At the turn of the 20th Century, American officials repeatedly voiced support for an independent Armenian state in Anatolia. The state was meant to compensate Armenians for the effects of genocide and offer them protection from hostile forces that surrounded them. Laderman explores why, notwithstanding the best intentions, the US Government ultimately abandoned Armenians and other persecuted Mideast Christians at the end of World War I. In my review, I explain what this history suggests for Mideast Christians today:

Congressional resolutions are very welcome, but history suggests that these Christians should not expect much more from America. Just as in the last century, despite the best intentions, America’s commitment to Christians in the Middle East today is limited: well wishes, exhortations for equality and tolerance, some humanitarian assistance—though nothing like the massive humanitarian campaign that took place in the last century and saved so many lives. Ultimately, nations act in their political and economic interests, and America does not perceive long-term interests that would justify putting at risk the large number of troops necessary to defend Mideast Christians on an ongoing basis. Many private citizens and charities continue to help Mideast Christians, thank God. But the sad lesson of Laderman’s book is this: if Christians in Syria expect the American government to do more to help them, they will find themselves on their own.

The full essay is available here.

Legal Spirits Episode 018: SCOTUS Takes a Pair of Cases on the Ministerial Exception

In this episode, we discuss the Court’s cert grant in two consolidated cases on the ministerial exception: St. James Church v. Biel and Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru. The cases will require the Court to clarify the definition of “minister,” a question the Court left open six years ago in Hosanna-Tabor. Center Co-Directors Marc DeGirolami and Mark Movsesian ask whether the Court will adopt a narrow or broad definition of “minister”; what practical consequences would follow from either approach; and how the Court’s decision will reflect deeper disagreements about the value of religious institutions in American life.

Around the Web

Here are some important law-and-religion news stories from around the web: