Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Friday, April 30, 2010

Bradley on anti-proselytism laws

My colleague, Gerard Bradley, has a very thoughtful paper up at The Immanent Frame about anti-proselytism laws, and the dangers they can pose to religious freedom, properly understood.  In the paper, he engages those who "frame[s] the question in terms of a 'right to win adherents by persuasion' balanced against a 'right of communities to defend their respective traditions.'”  He concludes:

The duty of any political community to respect religious liberty as it is defined in countless constitutional, legal, and, yes, religious documents, and the extension of this duty, even to people whose beliefs and practices are largely false or misguided, is rooted in the basic moral (not legal or social) duty of everyone to seek the truth about reality, including reality’s furthest reaches—which reaches transcend the concerns of the political community itself. The political community’s duty is further rooted in everyone’s moral duty to shape his or her life according to what one judges to be the truth about reality. From here—this foundational ground—one can see straightaway that anti-conversion and anti-proselytizing laws strike at the heart of religious liberty.

From here, you can see, too, that if one thinks that religious liberty attaches to an established social order in which religion plays an important role, and if one credits reports that even peaceful encounters with articulated alternate conceptions of reality are “experiences” of attempted “destruction,” then one might well affirm some putative right to “non-interference.” But then one will have drifted very far from a sound understanding of religious freedom—the understanding on offer in so many authoritative documents—and one will have abandoned its foundations altogether.

I also tried, a few years ago, to say something worthwhile about persuasion, evangelization, and proselytism in this paper, "Changing Minds:  Proselytism, Religious Freedom, and the First Amendment."

http://mirrorofjustice.blogs.com/mirrorofjustice/2010/04/bradley-on-antiproselytism-laws.html

| Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d834515a9a69e201348046324b970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Bradley on anti-proselytism laws:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

"The duty of any political community to respect religious liberty as it is defined in countless constitutional, legal, and, yes, religious documents, and the extension of this duty, even to people whose beliefs and practices are largely false or misguided, is rooted in the basic moral (not legal or social) duty of everyone to seek the truth about reality, including reality’s furthest reaches"

This seems to be a very Americentric view of the moral obligation to accept religious freedom. The concept is not as widely accepted as the quote suggests.

Would Prof. Bradley also apply this argument to organizations like the Vatican? Can the Vatican proscribe non-Catholic proselytizing within its walls? Can the Vatican prevent non-Catholics from becoming Pope?

In other words, doesn't the right to assemble imply the right to exclude?

Posted by: Andrew MacKie-Mason | May 1, 2010 12:46:23 AM

"This seems to be a very Americentric view of the moral obligation to accept religious freedom. The concept is not as widely accepted as the quote suggests."

It's a very obvious conclusion of classical liberalism--that there are certain rights such as religious freedom and expression that may not be taken away by the state to protect the status quo or to protect the established culture or religion.

"Would Prof. Bradley also apply this argument to organizations like the Vatican? Can the Vatican proscribe non-Catholic proselytizing within its walls? Can the Vatican prevent non-Catholics from becoming Pope?"

Is this really a serious question? The Vatican is a state much different than the U.S. or a European country. I don't think we are dealing with analogous situations. I do, however, think Israel ought to repeal it's anti-proselytism laws. Private organizations may have a right to exclude. What they don't have a right to do is to get the state to restrict others from talking about different points of view to their members once their members go out into the general population.

Posted by: Don Altobello | May 2, 2010 9:35:06 AM

"It's a very obvious conclusion of classical liberalism--that there are certain rights such as religious freedom and expression that may not be taken away by the state to protect the status quo or to protect the established culture or religion."

For societies that subscribe to that theory of liberalism. However, Bradley's piece (at least the part quoted here) claims to apply to all societies as a moral duty, with little justification beyond the fact that it is an a priori truth.

"Is this really a serious question? The Vatican is a state much different than the U.S. or a European country. I don't think we are dealing with analogous situations."

Except this doesn't seem limited to the US or Europe, unless there's a part I'm missing.

"Private organizations may have a right to exclude. What they don't have a right to do is to get the state to restrict others from talking about different points of view to their members once their members go out into the general population."

In this sense, how do you distinguish a "private organization" from a "state"? Doesn't the organization known as the body politic have the power to exclude proselytizers?

Posted by: Andrew MacKie-Mason | May 5, 2010 12:06:14 AM

I don't think we are dealing with analogous situations.

Posted by: Growth Hormone for sale | Apr 5, 2012 6:58:56 AM

For societies that subscribe to that theory of liberalism. However, Bradley's piece (at least the part quoted here) claims to apply to all societies as a moral duty, with little justification beyond the fact that it is an a priori truth.

Posted by: steroids | Apr 5, 2012 7:00:12 AM

The concept is not as widely accepted as the quote suggests.

Posted by: steroids reviews | Apr 5, 2012 7:02:31 AM

Some smooching over spaghetti and red wine at your favorite Italian eatery

Posted by: oral steroids | Apr 12, 2012 4:54:51 PM

So nice updates.I like to read more information regarding this post.

Posted by: gym tips | Apr 12, 2012 4:56:35 PM

Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement the concept. Thank you for the post.

Posted by: buy steroids | Jun 18, 2012 1:00:19 PM