Saturday, March 23, 2013

At the FSU Conference on Religion and Law in American History

3/23/2013 – – I will blog more tonight and tomorrow, when the conference is over, but the FSU Conference on Religion and Law in American History has just been fabulous. There were three panels yesterday: Intra-Religious Debates and Legal Identity; Islam, Rights, and Freedom; and Faith-based Initiatives in the Secular Age.

The first panel was rooted in mostly American legal history. The second was a very searching investigation of how Islam and Muslims are treated in the United States. It is not a pretty picture. Professor Winifred Sullivan, the well-known authority on lawn religion, responded to the second panel by raising the question of whether a greater sensitivity to religious beliefs, as opposed to changing the way people are treated in general, would improve matters.

The third panel race questions very close to those I have been discussing in Church, State, and the Crisis in American Secularism. The question was the use and role of religion in schools and prisons. Leslie Ribovich from Princeton discussed Thomas Lickona’s Educating for Character in terms very consonant with higher law secularism.

The scholars here are young and very accomplished. And the tone is very different because it is a conference sponsored by the Department of Religion rather than by law school. In other words this is a conference of religion and law, not law and religion.

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