Around the Web

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

  • In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the City of Boston violated the First Amendment when it rejected an application to fly a Christian flag on one of the flagpoles in front of city hall.
  • In Navy SEAL 1 v. Austin, a D.C. federal district court refused to grant a preliminary injunction to bar discharge or other adverse action against a Navy SEAL who refuses, for religious reasons, to comply with the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
  • In Cobranchi v. City of Parkersburg, a West Virginia federal district court held that Parkersburg’s City Council violated the Establishment Clause by opening its meetings with The Lord’s Prayer.
  • In South Central Conference of Seventh Day Adventists v. Alabama High School Athletic Association, suit was filed in an Alabama federal district court by the Seventh Day Adventist Oakwood Academy after it was forced to forfeit a semifinal game in the state tournament due to observance of the sabbath.
  • In State of Louisiana v. Spell (Parish of East Baton Rouge), the Louisiana Supreme Court quashed bills of information that had been issued against a pastor, charging him with violating the government’s COVID-19 orders during the pandemic.
  • Times of Israel reported last week that the Israel Religious Action Center is suing an ultra-Orthodox Jewish news website because of its policy of digitally blurring the faces of females in news photos it posts. The news site claims it blurred the faces in order to observe religious doctrines regarding modesty.

After Science and Religion

The relationship between science and religion is complex, often since at least the Enlightenment at least represented as one of conflict or tension, but also by some (perhaps in response) as one of fundamental synthesis or unity. Certainly, the tension has been in evidence relatively recently in some of the most prominent law and religion contests of our own day.

A new volume edited by Professors Peter Harrison and John Milbank collects a variety of interesting looking essays on the subject: After Science and Religion: Fresh Perspectives from Philosophy and Theology (CUP 2022).

“The popular field of ‘science and religion’ is a lively and well-established area. It is however a domain which has long been characterised by certain traits. In the first place, it tends towards an adversarial dialectic in which the separate disciplines, now conjoined, are forever locked in a kind of mortal combat. Secondly, ‘science and religion’ has a tendency towards disentanglement, where ‘science’ does one sort of thing and ‘religion’ another. And thirdly, the duo are frequently pushed towards some sort of attempted synthesis, wherein their aims either coincide or else are brought more closely together. In attempting something fresh, and different, this volume tries to move beyond tried and tested tropes. Bringing philosophy and theology to the fore in a way rarely attempted before, the book shows how fruitful new conversations between science and religion can at last move beyond the increasingly tired options of either conflict or dialogue.”