Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

James Kugel on "Religion and the Secular State"

Here is an interesting essay by Prof. James Kugel, called "Religion's Place in the Secular State and Armed Conflicts of Today."  Here is the introduction:

The relationship between religion and the state is one of the most hotly contested and interesting challenges facing modern, secular governments. In the recent months alone, it has appeared in Quebec, where a judge decided that a Catholic school cannot teach nationally required subjects from Catholic perspective; in the U.S., whose Supreme Court held that Hastings College Law School may legally exclude a Christian student group; in France, which passed legislation banning the wearing of burqas; and in Italy, which the European Court of Human Rights ruled must remove crucifixes from its public classroom walls.

Religion is also a matter of crucial importance in the current, escalating situation of conflict in the Middle East. How much of the conflict can be traced back to religion? And if culpability is found, is religion itself to blame, or can particular attributes of particular religions be identified as culpable forces?

Professor James Kugel, Director of the Institute for the History of the Jewish Bible, and Professor of Bible at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel, spoke to ilsussidiario.net about the issue of orthodoxy and the state. Formerly Starr Professor of Hebrew Literature and director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard, Professor Kugel has explored the value of orthodoxy in many of his books and journal contributions. He spoke to us from Israel in order to shed light on some of the important questions of religion, war, and state that factor into the debate.


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From a reading of only this excerpt where it is stated that "in Quebec, where a judge decided that a Catholic school cannot teach nationally required subjects from Catholic perspective"... the writer is factually incorrect. Loyola High school here in Montreal has been allowed by the judge to be exempt from having to teach its students the provincially mandated Ethics and Religion curriculum. So, the opposite (gratia dei) of what actually took place is being described here by Kugel. Read more at: loyola.ca

Posted by: Paul Allen | Jul 23, 2010 7:52:31 PM