Tag Archives: Religious Pluralism

Ellethy, “Islam, Context, Pluralism and Democracy: Classical and Modern Interpretations”

In December, Routledge Press released “Islam, Context, Pluralism and Democracy: Classical and Modern Interpretations” by Yaser Ellethy (VU University, Amsterdam). The publisher’s description follows:

Islam, Context, Pluralism and Democracy aspires to clarify the tensions and congruences between the revelational and the rational, the text and the context, the limits and the horizons of contextualization in Islam, as these emanate from the Islamic interpretative tradition.

This book examines classical and modern Muslim interpretations with regard to the concepts of diachronic development, pluralism and democracy based on Arabic-Islamic sources and literature. Focusing on the parameters of semantic changes, methods of interpretation and cultural variables, it shows how this interpretative tradition offers a diversity of ideas and approaches that can be utilized in contemporary debates concerning the socio-political contextualization of Islamic genuine thought. However, within this diversity, Islam presents generic principles and core values as ‘moral paradigms’ that can deal with such modern challenges. Based on the analysis of core Islamic texts and key-terms related to the discussed issues, mainly from the Quran and the Sunnah, and the broader Arabic-Islamic literature, it explores the boundaries of the mutable and constant in the Islamic worldview.

Presenting classical Muslim interpretations and scholars as possible interlocutors in debates over the compatibility of Islam with challenges of modernity, this book is essential reading for researchers and postgraduates interested in Islamic Studies, Philosophy of Religion and Political Science.

Garelli, “Religion Italian Style: Continuities and Changes in a Catholic Country”

This month, Ashgate Publishing releases “Religion Italian Style: Continuities and Changes in a Catholic Country” by Franco Garelli (University of Turin, Italy). The publisher’s description follows:

Italy’s traditional subcultures – Communist, Socialist, Liberal, Republican, Right-wing – have largely dissolved and yet Catholics have retained their vitality and solidity. How can the vast majority of Italians continue to maintain some connection with Catholicism? How much is the Italian situation influenced by the closeness of the Vatican?

Examining the religious condition of contemporary Italy, Religion Italian Style argues that the relationship between religion and society in Italy has unique characteristics when compared with what is happening in other European Catholic Countries. Exploring key topics and religious trends which question how the population feel – from the laity and the role of religions in the public sphere, to moral debates, forms of religious pluralism, and new spiritualities – this book questions how these affect religious life, and how intricately religion is interwoven with the nation’s fabric and the dynamics of the whole society.

“Politics of Religion and Nationalism” (Requejo & Nagel, eds.)

This December, Routledge Press will release “Politics of Religion and Nationalism: Federalism, Consociationalism and Secession” edited by Ferran Requejo and Klaus-Jürgen Nagel (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona).  The publisher’s description follows:

There are numerous examples of how religion and nationalism intertwine. In some cases, a common religion is the fundamental marker of a nation’s identity, whereas in others secular nationalism tries to hold together people of different religious beliefs.

This book examines the link between religion and nationalism in contemporary polities. By exploring case studies on India, Russia, Israel, Canada, Chechnya, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Belgium, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Sri Lanka, Catalonia and the Basque Country, it seeks to understand the relationship between these two key societal forms of diversity and assess the interaction between religious and nationalist perspectives. Expert contributors examine a variety of phenomena, including secular nationalism, secessionism, and polities in which religious pluralism is evolving.

This book will be of interest to students and scholars of political science, religion and politics, nationalism, federalism, secession, political philosophy, racial and ethnic politics and comparative politics.

Call for Papers: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Religious Pluralism

The ReligioWest Research Project (European University Institute, Florence) and the Religion and Political Theory Centre (University College London) are soliciting papers for a workshop to be held at the European University Institute in Florence on January 19-20, 2015. Submissions should address one of the following topics:

  • The sources of religious pluralism and the justifications for our commitment to religious pluralism
  • The social realities and political problems related to religious pluralism
  • The possibility of limitations and restrictions on religious pluralism in liberal democracies

Please send submissions to kristina.stoeckl@eui.eu by October 25, 2014.  Details regarding possible paper topics can be found here.


Pope Francis’s Remarks on “Social Dialogue in a Context of Religious Freedom”

Pope Francis has issued an Apostolic Exhortation–Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”)–which ranges over many subjects, emphasizing in particular and in many places the obligations of Catholics toward the poor and toward realizing just social, political, and economic arrangements.

In a substantial portion of the Exhortation (beginning at paragraph 182), the Pope discusses the social teaching of the Church and he focuses on two issues: the alleviation of poverty and the Church’s special concern for the poor; and “The Common Good and Peace in Society.” As to the latter, and because they involve issues of religion and public life that we consider here at the Center, here are the Pope’s remarks (footnotes omitted) about the importance of “social dialogue in a context of religious freedom,” which conclude his reflections on the social dimension of the Gospel:

255. The Synod Fathers spoke of the importance of respect for religious freedom, viewed as a fundamental human right. This includes “the freedom to choose the religion which one judges to be true and to manifest one’s beliefs in public” A healthy pluralism, one which genuinely respects differences and values them as such, does not entail privatizing religions in an attempt to reduce them to the quiet obscurity of the individual’s conscience or to relegate them to the enclosed precincts of churches, synagogues or mosques. This would represent, in effect, a new form of discrimination and authoritarianism. The respect due to the agnostic or non-believing minority should not be arbitrarily imposed in a way that silences the convictions of the believing majority or ignores the wealth of religious traditions. In the long run, this would feed resentment rather than tolerance and peace.

256. When considering the effect of religion on public life, one must distinguish the different ways in which it is practiced. Intellectuals and serious journalists frequently descend to crude and superficial generalizations in speaking of the shortcomings of religion, and often prove incapable of realizing that not all believers – or religious leaders – are the same. Some politicians take advantage of this confusion to justify acts of discrimination. At other times, contempt is shown for writings which reflect religious convictions, overlooking the fact that religious classics can prove meaningful in every age; they have an enduring power to open new horizons, to stimulate thought, to expand the mind and the heart. This contempt is due to the myopia of a certain rationalism. Is it reasonable and enlightened to dismiss certain writings simply because they arose in a context of religious belief? These writings include principles which are profoundly humanistic and, albeit tinged with religious symbols and teachings, they have a certain value for reason.

257. As believers, we also feel close to those who do not consider themselves part of any religious tradition, yet sincerely seek the truth, goodness and beauty which we believe have their highest expression and source in God. We consider them as precious allies in the commitment to defending human dignity, in building peaceful coexistence between peoples and in protecting creation. A special place of encounter is offered by new Areopagi such as the Court of the Gentiles, where “believers and non-believers are able to engage in dialogue about fundamental issues of ethics, art and science, and about the search for transcendence”. This too is a path to peace in our troubled world.

Waggoner (ed.), “Religion in the Public Schools”

This month, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers will publish Religion in the Public Schools: Negotiating the New Commons edited by Michael D. Waggoner (University of Northern Iowa). The publisher’s description follows.Religion in The Public Schools

Since September 11, 2001, the profile of religion’s role in our global society has increased significantly. Religion has long been a force in people’s lives as numerous studies and polls show, yet we continue to struggle with understanding differing religious traditions and what they mean for our common life. There are few places where Americans can meet together to learn about each other and to share in the common construction of our futures. One such place for many is public education.

The purpose of this book is to illustrate the complexity of the social, cultural, and legal milieu of schooling in the United States in which the improvement of religious literacy and understanding must take place. Public education is the new commons. We must negotiate this commons in two meanings of that term: first, we must come to mutual understandings and agreement about how to proceed toward a common horizon of a religiously plural America; second, we must work our way through the obstacles in these settings in practical ways to achieve results that work.

Conference, “Religious Freedom, Legal Pluralism and Democratic Constitutionalism”

Our friend Claudia Haupt (Columbia) reaches out with news of an interesting looking conference organized by political scientist Jean Cohen: “Religious Freedom, Legal Pluralism and Democratic Constitutionalism” at Columbia University on February 22-23.  Details follow.

Please save the date for:

Religious Freedom, Legal Pluralism and Democratic Constitutionalism
Organized by Political Science Professor Jean L. Cohen, Columbia University

Room 707, International Affairs Building

Friday, February 22, 2013

10:00am–12:00pm: Panel on Constitutionalism and Legal Pluralism

Paper by Dieter Grimm (Humboldt University) with comments by Andrew Arato (The New School)

2:00–4:00pm: Panel on Religious Legal Pluralism and Family Law

Paper by Linda McClain (Boston University) with comments by Mirjam Kunkler (Princeton University) and Karen Barkey (Columbia University)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Room 707, International Affairs Building

10:00am–12:00pm: Panel on Republicanism and Freedom of Religion

Paper by Michel Troper (Paris X) with comments by Claudia Haupt (Columbia Law) and Stathis Gourgouris (Columbia University)

2:00–4:00pm: Panel on Freedom of Religion and Religious Establishment

Paper by Larry Sager (University of Texas, Austin) with comments by Nancy Rosenblum (Harvard University)

Durham, Kirkham & Lindholm (eds.), “Islam and Political-Cultural Europe”

This December, Ashgate Publishing will publish Islam and Political-Cultural Europe edited by W. Cole Durham Jr. (BYU – J. Reuben Clark Law School), David M. Kirkham (BYU – J. Reuben Clark Law School), and Tore Lindholm (University of Oslo, Norway). The publisher’s description follows.

Islam and Political-Cultural Europe identifies the sometimes confusing and often contentious new challenges that arise in daily life and institutions as Islam settles deeper into Europe. Critiquing past and recent assimilation efforts in the fields of education, finance, and security, the contributors offer prospective solutions to diverse contemporary problems. Exploring the interactions of Muslim, Christian and secular cultures in the context of highly pluralized contemporary European societies, this book offers a valuable tool for those within and outside Europe seeking to understand the far-reaching implications of combining cultures, the struggles of the Muslim-Christian-secular transition, and the progress which the future promises.

Bell on The Status of the Roman Catholic Church and Canon Law in Singapore

Gary F. Bell  (Nat’l U. of Singapore Faculty of Law) has posted Religious Legal Pluralism Revisited – The Status of the Roman Catholic Church and Her Canon Law in Singapore. The abstract follows.

By religious legal pluralism we usually mean state-recognised legal pluralism, such as the kind of legal pluralism implemented in Singapore through the Administration of Muslim Law Act. But there is also religious legal pluralism outside State recognition and enforcement. Many religions have very long legal traditions which have survived, often without much support or official recognition by States (Jewish law, for example). In this paper we shall look at one such tradition, the canon law of the Latin Church of the Roman Catholic Church and its implementation by the Church in Singapore, including the establishment of very busy ecclesiastical tribunals in Singapore to administer disputes relating to the possible nullity of religious marriages, for example. The hope is that this example of Canon Law in Singapore will show that there can be very detailed and formal religious laws implemented by formal institutions such as tribunals outside the ambit of the State.

Patel, “Sacred Ground”

From Random House this month, a new book on anti-Muslim prejudice in the United States, Eboo Patel, Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America (2012). The publisher’s description follows.

In the decade following the attacks of 9/11, suspicion and animosity toward American Muslims has increased rather than subsided. Alarmist, hateful rhetoric once relegated to the fringes of political discourse has now become frighteningly mainstream, with pundits and politicians routinely invoking the specter of Islam as a menacing, deeply anti-American force.

In Sacred Ground, author and renowned interfaith leader Eboo Patel says this prejudice is not just a problem for Muslims but a challenge to the very idea of America. Patel shows us that Americans from George Washington to Martin Luther King Jr. have been “interfaith leaders,” illustrating how the forces of pluralism in America have time and again defeated the forces of Continue reading