The book explores the history of Justiniana Prima, a city built by Emperor Justinian I (527-565) in his birthplace near Niš in present-day Serbia. Previous studies focused on determining the city’s location, underestimating the significance of analyzing written sources for the reconstruction of this city’s genesis and importance. Using information from Emperor Justinian’s Novels XI and CXXXI, as well as Book IV of Procopius of Caesarea’s De aedificiis, Stanislaw Turlej endeavors to show that Justiniana Prima’s historic significance resulted from granting its Church the status of an archbishopric with its own province in 535, which was independent of Rome. Justinian wanted to introduce profound changes to the ecclesiastical organization based on state law.
Since it’s the start of the school year, I thought I would begin my 30 day blogging career with “Three Things That Aren’t on Enough Church-State Syllabi.” The idea is to help students understand that current efforts to give religion a more prominent place in the public square have deep roots. They aren’t merely a throw-back to a repressive Puritan era or the result of foreign influences arriving with 19th century Catholic immigrants. Rather, they are part of the mainstream of America political thought since the founding.
Syllabus Supplement, Part I – The aptly named Theophilus Parsons.
Think of Parsons as a James Madison counterpart in Massachusetts – really smart and politically crafty. While Madison led the charge to defeat Virginia’s otherwise popular proposal for a general assessment to support religion in 1785, Parsons had helped ram through the Massachusetts 1780 constitutional provision requiring public support for Protestant ministers, despite not actually having the votes. In course after course, students read Madison’s ringing words from the Memorial and Remonstrance calling the use of religion “as an engine of Civil policy” an “unhallowed perversion of the means of salvation.”
An interesting, and quite different, perspective can be found in Chief Justice Parsons’ opinion in Barnes v. Falmouth (1810): “The object of a free civil government is the promotion and security of the happiness of the citizens. These effects cannot be produced, but by the knowledge and practice of our moral duties…. Civil government…is extremely defective, and unless it could derive assistance from some superior power, whose laws extend to the temper and disposition of the human heart, and before whom no offense is secret, wretched indeed would be the state of man…. On these principles, tested by the experience of mankind, and by the reflections of reason, the people of Massachusetts, in the frame of their government, adopted and patronized a religion, which by its benign and energetic influences, might cooperate with human institutions, to promote and serve the happiness of the citizens….”
On a somewhat more topical note, Parsons had little sympathy for exemption-seekers, arguing that, since it was only a tax and did not require church attendance, objectors “mistake a man’s conscience for his money….”
On June 22 in Rome, CLR co-hosted a conference, State-Sponsored Religious Displays in the US and Europe, with the Department of Law at Libera Università Maria SS. Assunta (LUMSA). Videos of the panels are now available below. Papers will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Catholic Legal Studies.
Silvio Ferrari (Università di Milano – Facoltà di Giurisprudenza)
Session 1: Cultural or Religious? Understanding Symbols in Public Places
Thomas C. Berg (U. of St. Thomas School of Law)
Carlo Cardia (Università di Roma Tre – Facoltà di Giurisprudenza)
Eduardo Gianfrancesco (LUMSA – Dipartimento di Giurisprudenza)
Francesco Margiotta Broglio (Università di Firenze – Facoltà di Scienze Politiche)
Session 2: The Lautsi Case and the Margin of Appreciation
Monica Lugato (LUMSA – Dipartimento di Giurisprudenza)
Marc O. DeGirolami (St. John’s U. School of Law)
W. Cole Durham, Jr. (Brigham Young U. Law School)
Session 3: State‐sponsored Religious Displays in Comparative Perspective
Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit)
Paolo Cavana (LUMSA – Dipartimento di Giurisprudenza)
Mark L. Movsesian (St. John’s U. School of Law)
Sophie C. van Bijsterveld (Tilburg U. School of Humanities)
This paper is a contribution to a volume of essays dealing with a range of contemporary challenges – challenges posed by new questions, and by new forces – to religious liberty. It considers the role that religious communities, groups, and associations play – and the role that they should they play – in our thinking and conversations about religious freedom and church-state relations. And, its primary claim is that the values and goods that the First Amendment’s Religion Clauses embody and protect are well served by a civil-society landscape that is thick with churches (and mediating institutions and associations of all kinds) and by legal rules that reflect their importance. These institutions contribute in distinctive ways to the reality of religious freedom under law.