THE DISENCHANTMENT OF SECULAR DISCOURSE

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The Disenchantment Of Secular Discourse

Author : Steven Douglas Smith
ISBN : 0674050878
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 42.48 MB
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Prominent observers complain that public discourse in America is shallow and unedifying. This debased condition is often attributed to, among other things, the resurgence of religion in public life. Steven Smith argues that this diagnosis has the matter backwards: it is not primarily religion but rather the strictures of secular rationalism that have drained our modern discourse of force and authenticity. Thus, Rawlsian âeoepublic reasonâe filters appeals to religion or other âeoecomprehensive doctrinesâe out of public deliberation. But these restrictions have the effect of excluding our deepest normative commitments, virtually assuring that the discourse will be shallow. Furthermore, because we cannot defend our normative positions without resorting to convictions that secular discourse deems inadmissible, we are frequently forced to smuggle in those convictions under the guise of benign notions such as freedom or equality. Smith suggests that this sort of smuggling is pervasive in modern secular discourse. He shows this by considering a series of controversial, contemporary issues, including the Supreme Courtâe(tm)s assisted-suicide decisions, the âeoeharm principle,âe separation of church and state, and freedom of conscience. He concludes by suggesting that it is possible and desirable to free public discourse of the constraints associated with secularism and âeoepublic reason.âe
Category: Philosophy

The Tragedy Of Religious Freedom

Author : Marc O. DeGirolami
ISBN : 9780674074156
Genre : Law
File Size : 54.93 MB
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Legal scholars expect to resolve religious dilemmas according to principles of equality, neutrality, or separation of church and state. But such abstractions fail to do justice to the clashing values in today’s pluralistic society. Marc DeGirolami explains why conflicts implicating religious liberty are so emotionally fraught and deeply contested.
Category: Law

Foreordained Failure

Author : Steven D. Smith
ISBN : 9780195132489
Genre : Law
File Size : 73.94 MB
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Ever since the Supreme Court began enforcing the First Amendment's religion clauses in the 1940s, courts and scholars have tried to distill the meaning of those clauses into a useable principle of religious freedom. In Foreordained Failure, Smith argues that efforts to find a principle of religious freedom in the "original meaning" are futile, but not because the original meaning is irrecoverable. The difficulty is that the religion clauses were not originally intended to approve any principle or right of religious freedom. Rather, the clauses were purely jurisdictional in nature; they were intended to do nothing more than confirm that authority over questions of religion remained with the states. This work will be of great interest to law scholars, lawyers, judges, and other readers concerned with the subject of religious freedom.
Category: Law

Law S Quandary

Author : Steven D Smith
ISBN : 0674043820
Genre : Law
File Size : 23.80 MB
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This lively book reassesses a century of jurisprudential thought from a fresh perspective, and points to a malaise that currently afflicts not only legal theory but law in general. Steven Smith argues that our legal vocabulary and methods of reasoning presuppose classical ontological commitments that were explicitly articulated by thinkers from Aquinas to Coke to Blackstone, and even by Joseph Story. But these commitments are out of sync with the world view that prevails today in academic and professional thinking. So our law-talk thus degenerates into "just words"--or a kind of nonsense. The diagnosis is similar to that offered by Holmes, the Legal Realists, and other critics over the past century, except that these critics assumed that the older ontological commitments were dead, or at least on their way to extinction; so their aim was to purge legal discourse of what they saw as an archaic and fading metaphysics. Smith's argument starts with essentially the same metaphysical predicament but moves in the opposite direction. Instead of avoiding or marginalizing the "ultimate questions," he argues that we need to face up to them and consider their implications for law.
Category: Law

The Impossibility Of Religious Freedom

Author : Winnifred Fallers Sullivan
ISBN : 9781400890330
Genre : Law
File Size : 80.79 MB
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The Constitution may guarantee it. But religious freedom in America is, in fact, impossible. So argues this timely and iconoclastic work by law and religion scholar Winnifred Sullivan. Sullivan uses as the backdrop for the book the trial of Warner vs. Boca Raton, a recent case concerning the laws that protect the free exercise of religion in America. The trial, for which the author served as an expert witness, concerned regulations banning certain memorials from a multiconfessional nondenominational cemetery in Boca Raton, Florida. The book portrays the unsuccessful struggle of Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish families in Boca Raton to preserve the practice of placing such religious artifacts as crosses and stars of David on the graves of the city-owned burial ground. Sullivan demonstrates how, during the course of the proceeding, citizens from all walks of life and religious backgrounds were harassed to define just what their religion is. She argues that their plight points up a shocking truth: religion cannot be coherently defined for the purposes of American law, because everyone has different definitions of what religion is. Indeed, while religious freedom as a political idea was arguably once a force for tolerance, it has now become a force for intolerance, she maintains. A clear-eyed look at the laws created to protect religious freedom, this vigorously argued book offers a new take on a right deemed by many to be necessary for a free democratic society. It will have broad appeal not only for religion scholars, but also for anyone interested in law and the Constitution. Featuring a new preface by the author, The Impossibility of Religious Freedom offers a new take on a right deemed by many to be necessary for a free democratic society.
Category: Law

Obligations Of Citizenship And Demands Of Faith

Author : Nancy L. Rosenblum
ISBN : 069100708X
Genre : Law
File Size : 50.72 MB
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Of the many challenges facing liberal democracy, none is as powerful and pervasive today as those posed by religion. These are the challenges taken up in Obligations of Citizenship and Demands of Faith, an exploration of the place of religion in contemporary public life. The essays in this volume suggest that two important shifts have altered the balance between the competing obligations of citizenship and faith: the growth of religious pluralism and the escalating calls of religious groups for some measure of autonomy or recognition from democratic majorities. The authors--political theorists, philosophers, legal scholars, and social scientists--collectively argue that more room should be made for religion in today's democratic societies. Though they advocate different ways of carving out and justifying the proper bounds of "church and state" in pluralist democracies, they all write from within democratic theory and share the aim of democratic accommodation of religion. Alert to national differences in political circumstances and the particularities of constitutional and legal systems, these contributors consider the question of religious accommodation from the standpoint of institutional practices and law as well as that of normative theory. Unique in its interdisciplinary approach and comparative focus, this volume makes a timely and much-needed intervention in current debates about religion and politics. The contributors are Nancy L. Rosenblum, Alan Wolfe, Ronald Thiemann, Michael McConnell, Graham Walker, Amy Gutmann, Kent Greenawalt, Aviam Soifer, Harry Hirsch, Gary Jacobsohn, Yael Tamir, Martha Nussbaum, and Carol Weisbrod.
Category: Law

The Language Of Disenchantment

Author : Robert A. Yelle
ISBN : 9780199925018
Genre : History
File Size : 28.30 MB
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The Language of Disenchantment explores how Protestant ideas about language inspired British colonial critiques of Hindu mythological, ritual, linguistic, and legal traditions.
Category: History

The Rise And Decline Of American Religious Freedom

Author : Steven D. Smith
ISBN : 9780674730137
Genre : Law
File Size : 63.65 MB
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Familiar accounts of religious freedom in the United States often tell a story of visionary founders who broke from centuries-old patterns of Christendom to establish a political arrangement committed to secular and religiously neutral government. These novel commitments were supposedly embodied in the religion clauses of the First Amendment. But this story is largely a fairytale, Steven Smith says in this incisive examination of a much-mythologized subject. The American achievement was not a rejection of Christian commitments but a retrieval of classic Christian ideals of freedom of the church and of conscience. Smith maintains that the First Amendment was intended merely to preserve the political status quo in matters of religion. America's distinctive contribution was, rather, a commitment to open contestation between secularist and providentialist understandings of the nation which evolved over the nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, far from vindicating constitutional principles, as conventional wisdom suggests, the Supreme Court imposed secular neutrality, which effectively repudiated this commitment to open contestation. Instead of upholding what was distinctively American and constitutional, these decisions subverted it. The negative consequences are visible today in the incoherence of religion clause jurisprudence and the intense culture wars in American politics.
Category: Law

Guru English

Author : Srinivas Aravamudan
ISBN : 1400826853
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 32.76 MB
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Guru English is a bold reconceptualization of the scope and meaning of cosmopolitanism, examining the language of South Asian religiosity as it has flourished both inside and outside of its original context for the past two hundred years. The book surveys a specific set of religious vocabularies from South Asia that, Aravamudan argues, launches a different kind of cosmopolitanism into global use. Using "Guru English" as a tagline for the globalizing idiom that has grown up around these religions, Aravamudan traces the diffusion and transformation of South Asian religious discourses as they shuttled between East and West through English-language use. The book demonstrates that cosmopolitanism is not just a secular Western "discourse that results from a disenchantment with religion, but something that can also be refashioned from South Asian religion when these materials are put into dialogue with contemporary social move-ments and literary texts. Aravamudan looks at "religious forms of neoclassicism, nationalism, Romanticism, postmodernism, and nuclear millenarianism, bringing together figures such as Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Mahatma Gandhi, and Deepak Chopra with Rudyard Kipling, James Joyce, Robert Oppenheimer, and Salman Rushdie. Guru English analyzes writers and gurus, literary texts and religious movements, and the political uses of religion alongside the literary expressions of religious teachers, showing the cosmopolitan interconnections between the Indian subcontinent, the British Empire, and the American New Age.
Category: Social Science