This Article argues that religion is an important source and dimension of modern human rights, and it surveys the historical and contemporary rights contributions of each of the major world religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It then surveys the place of religion in modern international human rights norms, and calls for stronger protections, especially for minority faiths.

DepositDerrida and the Danger of Religion

This paper argues that Jacques Derrida provides a compelling rebuttal to a secularism that seeks to exclude religion from the public sphere. Political theorists such as Mark Lilla claim that religion is a source of violence, and so they conclude that religion and politics should be strictly separated. In my reading, Derrida’s work entails that a secularism of this kind is both impossible (because religion remains influential in the wake of secularization) and unnecessary (because religious traditions are diverse and multivalent). Some attempt to contain the disruptive force of religion by excluding it from the public sphere, but Derrida argues that one may endure instability for the sake of something more important than safety. Although Derrida admits that religion is dangerous, he demonstrates that it is nevertheless an indispensable resource for political reflection.

DepositThe Classification of Religions: A domain-analytic examination of the history and epistemology of the classification of religions within the Religious Studies discipline

While religion is a part of every culture and is entangled in many facets of the lives of those who are religious, the scientific study of religion and the Religious Studies discipline are fairly new, only developing in the mid to late nineteenth century. One of the contributions that the scientific study of religions has made is the development of different approaches for classifying religions. As a multidisciplinary field, Religious Studies and the classification of religions has been influenced by philosophy, psychology, history, sociology and anthropology. This study, using the domain-analytic paradigm, traces the development of the Religious Studies discipline and the classification of religions, analyzes the epistemological assumptions behind the prominent approaches used to classify religions and briefly examines their relation to the Library of Congress, Dewey Decimal and Universal Decimal classifications.

DepositLaw and Religion in American Education

This Article analyzes the major United States Supreme Court cases on the role of religion in public schools, the role of government in religious schools, and the place of religious rights of students and parents in all schools. It shows how the Court’s religion cases have vacillated between principles of strict separation of church and state and accommodation and equal treatment of religion. It shows how the Court has slowly come to protect and enhance the freedom of parents and students to choose between public and private education. And it shows how the Court has long protected students from being coerced to participate in religion or to abandon their religious practices.

DepositThe Interdisciplinary Growth of Law and Religion

Welsh jurist and Anglican theologian Norman Doe has pioneered the modern study of comparative “Christian law” – analyzing the wide variety of internal religious legal systems governing Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches worldwide. For him, law is a fundamental but underutilized instrument of Christian identity, denominationalism, and ecumenism, and he shows the many areas of overlap and collaboration even within and between Christian traditions that have sharp differences on other matters. This Article offers an appreciative analysis of the development of Professor Doe’s scholarship, and situates his work within the broader global field of law and religion studies.

DepositLaw, Religion, and Metaphors

This chapter explores the role of metaphors in shaping our thought and language in general, and in the fields of law and religion in particular. Drawing on modern cognitive theorists like George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, the article distinguishes and illustrates the roles of “orientation,” “structural,” and “ontological” metaphors in everyday life and language. Drawing on jurists like Robert Cover and Steven Winter, it shows how metaphors work both in describing the law in terms like “the body,” and in prescribing the foundational beliefs and values on which the legal system depends. Finally, the chapter explores the ample use of the sacred number three in the law, and speculates tentatively whether this legal appetite for “triads” might provide traction for the development of a Trinitarian jurisprudence. This chapter is dedicated to Michael Welker, a leading German systematic theologian and Christian philosopher, who has helped build a strong trans-Atlantic discourse on law and religion.