political philosophy

Early American Modifications of Locke's Theory of Toleration

By: Kevin Vance

The views of the American founders on religious liberty provide fertile ground for a range of different interpretations of what religious liberty protects and how religious liberty is justified. Although John Locke’s arguments for religious liberty were influential on the American founders, several founders such as John Adams and James Madison departed from or developed Locke’s arguments in a way that emphasizes how a human being’s religious obligations can limit the power of civil government. 

Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2016/7/26/early-american-modifications-of-lockes-theory-of-toleration

Natural Law: A Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Trialogue - The Islamic Context

By: Anver Emon

Let me first share a little bit about one of the challenges of the book [Natural Law: A Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Trialogue] as a whole. Each of us as authors come at our topic from different intellectual registers: Matthew is a theologian, David comes from philosophy; and I am a law professor. This frames the way we think about the question of natural law.

Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2016/7/14/natural-law-a-jewish-christian-and-islamic-trialogue-the-islamic-context

Natural Law: A Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Trialogue - The Judaic Context

By: David Novak

The natural law is something which is considered to be a fundamental precondition for the intelligent acceptance of revealed law. Revealed law says much more than natural law, but it does not say less. Natural law becomes sort of a bottom line beyond which the tradition cannot go. 

This is how natural law has functioned within the Jewish tradition. It functions as a border concept—a very important limit on chauvinism, fanaticism, and fundamentalism in the pejorative sense of that term. 

Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2016/7/14/natural-law-a-jewish-christian-and-islamic-trialogue

A Rational Case for Religious Freedom

By: Sherif Girgis

It’s had a shaky history. Unknown among pagans, it was—as Karen Taliaferro reminds us—quietly endorsed by some early Church Fathers. Augustine wrote something about it, Aquinas much more. A distortion of it was championed by French Revolutionaries and denounced by several Popes. A better version found its way into history’s most consequential political charter (the US Constitution) and through thinkers shaped by it (such as John Courtney Murray) to some of the Catholic Church’s most solemn pronouncements (at Vatican II). As recently as the 1990s, bills promoting it won the nearly unanimous consent of Congress and the signature of a Democratic president; today it’s depicted as the lonely cause of a socially conservative fringe. I mean the right to religious liberty.

Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2016/7/14/a-rational-case-for-religious-freedom

A Tale of Three Laws

By: Karen Taliaferro

Smuggled beneath the rancor over the recent Obergefell decision is an entirely distinct, yet more profound, disagreement that has little to do with whether gay couples have a legal right to marry. It is a disagreement over what law is: whether it is something that is merely human or whether it answers to something higher than human beings. Our current popular understanding of liberalism, including human rights and the rule of law, assumes that law is ultimately human fiat; that is, law is what the legislatures craft and the courts interpret. But this is a relatively recent notion in social and political history, and I argue that it is a misguided one, especially when we consider the implications for the freedom of conscience and religion. 

Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2016/7/14/a-tale-of-three-laws