Fordham Panel on Faith-Based Humanitarian Aid (May 15)

On May 15, Fordham University’s Center on Religion and Culture will host a panel, “Saving the World: Does Faith-Based Humanitarian Aid Deliver Relief or Redemption?”–

Faith-based humanitarianism has become a growth industry in recent years, channeling the influence of privately-held religious commitments into the public sphere around the globe. Yet surprisingly little is known about these initiatives—and to what extent their religious inspiration might help or hinder their success, particularly in troubled regions marked by religious division and conflict.

Does the added dimension of faith contribute something unique to humanitarian work? Or is faith-based aid really just another form of religious proselytizing?

This forum will compare faith-based organizations to their secular counterparts and look at how they are transforming the landscape of humanitarian intervention today.

Details are here.

The Becket Fund’s Cert Petition in the Wisconsin High School Graduation Case

Last summer, the Seventh Circuit ruled, en banc, that a Wisconsin public high school could not hold its graduation ceremonies in a rented Evangelical church sanctuary. To do so, the court ruled, posed too great a risk of government coercion, proselytism, and endorsement of religion. Three judges–Easterbrook, Posner, and Ripple–filed blistering dissents, the sort that often result in Supreme Court review.

The Becket Fund has filed a cert petition on behalf of the high school; Stanford Law Professor Michael McConnell appears on the petition as counsel of record. You can read the petition here. The Supreme Court is expected to announce whether it will hear the case, Doe v. Elmbrook School District, later this month. The case would give the Court an opportunity to clarify (or discard) its much maligned endorsement test. For my reflections on the issues the case raises, please click here.