The King’s College has posted a video of excerpts from my Constitution Day Address last month, on how cultural trends, including the rise of the Nones, will likely affect the legal debate on religious accommodations. Here’s the link:
For readers in the area, tomorrow night I’ll appear in midtown Manhattan on a panel sponsored by the Morningside Institute, “Church-State Relations in a Time of Scandal.” I’ll be discussing recent state attempts to require clergy to report suspected cases of child abuse, including cases clergy learn about through confidential spiritual counseling, and what these attempts suggest about our changing religious landscape. Details at the link. Stop by and say hello!
While Marc went north to Skidmore, I traveled to lower Manhattan today, to deliver the annual Constitution Day Address at The King’s College. Excellent questions from the students. Thanks for having me!
Next month, I’ll give the annual Constitution Day Address at The King’s College in New York, on Masterpiece Cakeshop and the future of religious freedom in the United States. Details about the event, to take place on September 19, are here. Forum readers in New York, please stop by to say hello!
In this week’s University Bookman, I have a review of Robert Louis Wilken’s new book on Christianity and religious freedom, Liberty in the Things of God. Here’s a sample:
Wilken writes lucidly and persuasively, and his basic point is correct. Religious freedom is not a concept foreign to Christian thought, and its place as a pillar of Western civilization owes much to Christian sources. Of course, one should not exaggerate. It’s fair to say that religious freedom, as it developed in the West, is one Christian approach to the question, but not the onlyChristian approach. As the examples of Augustine, Aquinas, and Calvin show, there are strains in the Christian tradition that would oppose religious freedom, at least as we understand the concept today. The dualist nature of Christian politics, which insists that Christians owe duties simultaneously to God and to the state, but that Christ is Lord of all, makes easy conclusions about the Christian approach to church-state relations impossible.
The full review is available here.
For those who are interested, the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy has published my article, Masterpiece Cakeshop and the Future of Religious Freedom, in the most recent issue. Here’s the abstract:
Last term, the Supreme Court decided Masterpiece Cakeshop, one of several recent cases in which religious believers have sought to avoid the application of public accommodations laws that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The Court’s decision was a narrow one that turned on unique facts and did relatively little to resolve the conflict between anti-discrimination laws and religious freedom. Yet Masterpiece Cakeshop is significant, because it reflects broad cultural and political trends that drive that conflict and shape its resolution: a deepening religious polarization between the Nones and the Traditionally Religious; an expanding conception of equality that treats social distinctions—especially religious distinctions—as illegitimate; and a growing administrative state that enforces that conception of equality in all aspects of our common life. This article explores those trends and offers three predictions for the future: conflicts like Masterpiece Cakeshop will grow more frequent and harder to resolve; the law of religious freedom will remain unsettled and deeply contested; and the judicial confirmation wars will grow even more bitter and partisan than they already have.
Readers can also download the article from the SSRN website, here.
I’m delighted to note the Center for Law and Religion edition of the latest issue of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. (Actually, it was entirely happenstance that one of Mark’s articles and one of my articles were published in the same issue.)
Mark’s piece is Masterpiece Cakeshop and the Future of Religious Freedom.
For our readers in the DC area, I’ll be speaking on Friday at George Mason University’s Scalia Law School, at a conference on Religion and the Administrative State. The conference is hosted by the law school’s Center for the Study of the Administrative State, whose talented and indefatigable director, Adam White, has put together a great lineup of which I am proud to be a part. I’ll be speaking (via the Web) on the Court’s decision last term in Masterpiece Cakehop, specifically, what the decision suggests about cultural and political trends in the US. The conference details are available here.
Here is a retrospective list of some of our papers and activities in 2018, with links where available. A warm word of gratitude to our readers, and best wishes for the new year!
DeGirolami, On the Uses of Anti-Christian Identity Politics, in “Religious Freedom, LGBT Rights, and the Prospects for Common Ground” (Robin Fretwell Wilson & William Eskridge, eds., 2018).
Movsesian, Markets and Morals: The Limits of Doux Commerce, 9 Wm. & Mary Bus. L. Rev. 449 (2018).
DeGirolami, The Sickness Unto Death of the First Amendment (forthcoming Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy).
Movsesian, Masterpiece Cakeshop and the Future of Religious Freedom, 42 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y (forthcoming)
DeGirolami (with Kevin Walsh), Conservatives, Don’t Put Too Much Hope in the Next Justice (New York Times, July).
DeGirolami (with Kevin Walsh), 2018 Supreme Court Roundup: Kennedy’s Last Term (First Things, October).
DeGirolami, The Long Tail of Legal Liberalism (reviewing Patrick Deneen, Why Liberalism Failed (2018)) (Liberty Fund Library of Law and Liberty, February)
The Tradition Project, Part III: “Tradition and the Global Clash of Values,” Rome, Italy, December.
Legal Spirits (podcast series concerning law and religion).
In spring 2018, Movsesian was a fellow in the James Madison Program in Princeton University’s Department of Politics.
Movsesian, Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture Annual Conference, Panelist, “A House Divided–Polarization in Our Common Life,” November.
Movsesian, Princeton University, Panelist, “Religious Freedom at Home and Abroad,” Madison Program Annual Conference, May.
Movsesian, Princeton University, Commentator, Conference on Law, Religion, and Complicity, University Center for Human Values, April.
Movsesian, Princeton University, Madison Program Workshop Series, The Future of Religious Freedom.
Movsesian, Colloquium on Religion and Liberalism, First Things Magazine (invited participant).
Movsesian, Columbia Law School, Guest Faculty, “Reading Group in the American Constitutional Tradition.
Movsesian, George Mason University Law School, Center for the Study of the Administrative State, The Future of Religious Freedom, March.
DeGirolami, “Higher Purposes of Free Speech,” Conference, “Higher Powers,” Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, November.
DeGirolami, Constitution Day Discussion, The King’s College, New York (with David Tubbs), September.
DeGirolami, “First Amendment Developments in the Supreme Court’s Recent Cases,” Loyola University Maryland, September.
DeGirolami, “The Sickness Unto Death of the First Amendment,” Center for the Study of the Administrative State, George Mason University School of Law, March.
At the First Things site today, I have a post on The American Legion v. American Humanist Association, the Maryland Peace Cross case, in which the Court granted cert last month. I argue that the Court could use the opportunity to get rid of the endorsement test in Establishment Clause cases. Here’s an excerpt:
Last month, the Supreme Court agreed to consider an important Establishment Clause case from Maryland, The American Legion v. American Humanist Association. The case, which presents a challenge to a Maryland cemetery’s use of a 40-foot cross as a public war memorial, gives the Court a chance to clarify its views on the constitutionality of state-sponsored religious displays. In particular, the case provides an opportunity for the Court to do away with the so-called “endorsement test,” which holds that a display violates the Constitution if a hypothetical, reasonable observer would see it as an endorsement of religion. Conservatives have criticized the endorsement test for decades, and with a new majority on the Court, they may finally have the votes to discard it. American Legion could turn out to be one of the most significant Establishment Clause cases in a long time.
American Legion is also the subject of a recent “Legal Spirits” episode Marc and I recorded. But you have already listened to that. Right?