This past December, Peter Lang Publishing published Religion, Law, and the Present Water Crisis by Richard A. Hughes (Lycoming College). The publisher’s description follows.
Religion, Law, and the Present Water Crisis documents current and impending global water shortages and opposes policies of commodification and privatization of water ownership by multinational water corporations. On the basis of the religions of the world, Richard A. Hughes appeals to pure, running water as a symbol of the sacred. Furthermore, he argues that all bodies of freshwater are commons and that they should be protected by the public trust doctrine. In addition, he contends that there is a right to water and that this right is independent, free-standing, and the prerequisite of other human rights, applying to all states and occupied territories. The increasing acidification of the oceans makes it mandatory to protect them under the reserved water right doctrine and to designate them as national parks of the seas.
More generally, this book presents a synthesis of water studies and encompasses the religions of the world, theologies of baptism, American water law doctrines, public trust doctrine with special attention to Islamic water law, and international water law treaties. Clean water is a necessity of life. Therefore, it is compelling to recognize the urgency of water scarcity and the need to guarantee the purity of and accessibility to water for all people.
Tomorrow morning, I’ll be the speaker at the New York Guild of Catholic Lawyers First Friday series. My talk, which will address the law of religious symbols in the United States and Europe, will begin at 8:15 am at the Church of Our Saviour, 59 Park Ave. (at 38th St.). For details, please contact Robert Crotty at Kelley Drye & Warren, LLP. CLR Forum readers in the neighborhood, stop by and say hello.
The City Council of Buhler, Kansas, has decided not to fight the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which complained that Buhler’s City seal — which displays a very prominent Latin cross — violates the Establishment Clause. You can see a story with the seal here; the seal was apparently created in 1988. And here is an open letter from the Mayor of Buhler to its residents, indicating that the City did not have a taste for an expensive litigation with FFRF which it was very uncertain to win, and which might well deplete the City’s small budget. Note some of the attachments to the letter as well, including a memorandum opinion from the ACLJ, suggesting that in light of Tenth Circuit case law, the City would be advised not to go to court.
Perhaps the problem was in the tension within Buhler’s own motto, “Traditional Values, Progressive Ideas.” Sounds like a recipe for conflict.
This month, Intersentia Publishing will publish Religious Symbols in Public Functions: Unveiling State Neutrality: A Comparative Analysis of Dutch, English and French Justifications for Limiting the Freedom of Public Officials to Display Religious Symbols by Hana M.A.E. van Ooijen (LL.M, Utrecht University). The publisher’s description follows.
Religious symbols are loaded with meaning, not only for those who display them. They have generated controversy in many circles, be they religious or secular, public or private, and within or outside academia. Debate has taken place throughout Europe and beyond, at times leading to limitations or bans of religious symbols. While this debate might seem whimsical in occasional flare-ups, it merits closer scrutiny, precisely because it is part of a long-running debate, it crosses boundaries and because it touches upon larger underlying questions.
This book singles out a particularly contentious issue: religious symbols in public functions and it focuses on the judiciary, the police and public education. It is often argued that public officials in these functions should be ‘neutral’ which consequently implies that they cannot display religious symbols. This book aims to unravel this line of thought to the core.
It disentangles the debate as it has been conducted in the Netherlands and studies the concept of state neutrality in depth. Furthermore, it appraises the arguments put forward against the background of three contexts: the European Convention on Human Rights, France and England. It critically questions whether state neutrality can necessitate and/or even justify limitations on the freedom of public officials to display religious symbols. Although this book is the result of an academic legal study, it can be read by students, academics, professionals, or anyone interested in the issue of religious symbols in public functions.
The Mojave Desert cross is not the only Establishment Clause icon to make a comeback this week. Roy Moore, the former Chief Judge of the Alabama Supreme Court, who famously defied a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state courthouse, has won election to his old job. In 2003, a state judicial ethics panel removed Moore from office for failing to comply with the federal court order. This week, the voters of Alabama sent Moore back to his former position. Moore told his supporters that he would continue “to stand for the acknowledgment of God,” but has promised not to try to restore the monument.
This month, University of Pennsylvania Press will publish Death by Effigy: A Case from the Mexican Inquisition by Luis R. Corteguera (University of Kansas). The publisher’s description follows.
On July 21, 1578, the Mexican town of Tecamachalco awoke to news of a scandal. A doll-like effigy hung from the door of the town’s church. Its two-faced head had black chicken feathers instead of hair. Each mouth had a tongue sewn onto it, one with a forked end, the other with a gag tied around it. Signs and symbols adorned the effigy, including a sambenito, the garment that the Inquisition imposed on heretics. Below the effigy lay a pile of firewood. Taken together, the effigy, signs, and symbols conveyed a deadly message: the victim of the scandal was a Jew who should burn at the stake. Over the course of four years, inquisitors conducted nine trials and interrogated dozens of witnesses, whose testimonials revealed a vivid portrait of friendship, love, hatred, and the power of rumor in a Mexican colonial town.
This November, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers will publish The Lautsi Papers: Multidisciplinary Reflections on Religious Symbols in the Public School Classroom edited by Jeroen Temperman (Erasmus University Rotterdam). The publisher’s description follows.
Increasingly, debates about religious symbols in the public space are reformulated as human rights questions and put before national and international judges. Particularly in the area of education, legitimate interests are manifold and often collide. Children’s educational and religious rights, parental liberties vis-à-vis their children, religious traditions, state obligations in the area of public school education, the state neutrality principle, and the professional rights and duties of teachers are all principles that may warrant priority attention. Each from their own discipline and perspective––ranging from legal (human rights) scholars, (legal) philosophers, political scientists, comparative law scholars, and country-specific legal experts––these experts contribute to the question of whether in the present-day pluralist state there is room for state symbolism (e.g. crucifixes in classroom) or personal religious signs (e.g. cross necklaces or kirpans) or attire (e.g. kippahs or headscarves) in the public school classroom.
In June 2013, The Indiana University Press will publish Visual Culture in the Modern Middle East: Rhetoric of the Image edited by Christiane J. Gruber (University of Michigan) and Sune Haughbolle (University of Copenhagen). The publisher’s description follows.
This timely book examines the power and role of the image in creating a rhetorical lexicon for political Islam. The essays explore the role and function of image making to highlight the ways in which the images “speak” and what visual languages mean for the construction of Islamic subjectivities, the politics of power, and the formation of identity and belonging. Visual Culture in the Modern Middle East addresses aspects of the visual in the Islamic world, including the presentation of Islam on television; the internet and other digital media; banners, posters, murals, and graffiti; and the satirical press, cartoons, and children’s books.
This August, Princeton University Press will publish a paperback edition of The Religious Left and Church-State Relations by Steven H. Shiffrin (Cornell Law School). The cloth edition was published in 2009. The publisher’s description follows and a book review by the Center’s own Assistant Director Marc O. DeGirolami can be found here.
In The Religious Left and Church-State Relations, noted constitutional law scholar Steven Shiffrin argues that the religious left, not the secular left, is best equipped to lead the battle against the religious right on questions of church and state in America today. Explaining that the chosen rhetoric of secular liberals is poorly equipped to argue against religious conservatives, Shiffrin shows that all progressives, religious and secular, must appeal to broader values promoting religious liberty. He demonstrates that the separation of church and state serves to protect religions from political manipulation while tight connections between church and state compromise the integrity of religious institutions.
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)
Posted in CLR News, Marc O. DeGirolami, Mark L. Movsesian, Scholarship Roundup
Tagged Church-State Relations, Comparative Law and Religion, Conferences, Faculty Appearances, Italy, Lautsi v Italy, Religion in Europe, Religious Symbols