Why Corporations Are People

From First Thoughts

Cornerstone has published a short essay of mine on whether a corporation qualifies as a person for purposes of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act—a main issue in the Contraception Mandate case the Supreme Court will decide this month. Relying on a comment from Chief Justice John Roberts at . . . . Continue Reading »

Update: Rome Conference on International Religious Freedom (June 20-21)

From First Thoughts

For those interested, here’s an update on that Rome conference on international religious freedom I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, co-sponsored by the Center for Law and Religion at St. John’s University. The conference will now take place over two days, Friday, June 20, and Saturday, June 21, at the main campus of the Libera Universita Maria SS. Assunta in the Borgo. The updated agenda is available here. Speakers include keynoters Tom Farr and John Witte, as well as Abduh An-Na’im, Pasquale Annicchino, Heiner Bielefeldt, Giuseppe Dalla Torre, Ken Hackett, Francisca Perez-Madrid, Olivier Roy, Nina Shea, Marco Ventura, and Roberto Zaccaria. Proceedings will be in English and Italian with simultaneous translation. If you’re in the area, please join us! 

Conference on International Religious Freedom (June 20)

From First Thoughts

For First Things readers in the neighborhood:  On June 20, the Center for Law and Religion will co-host a conference, “International Religious Freedom and the Global Clash of Values,” at the Libera Università Maria SS. Assunta in Rome. The conference will bring together American and European scholars and officials; proceedings will be in English and Italian with simultaneous translation. 

Panels will include “Comparative Perspectives on International Religious Freedom,” “Christian and Muslim Perspectives on International Religious Freedom,” and “The Politics of International Religious Freedom.” Participants will include Abdullahi An-Na’im, Pasquale Annicchino, Heiner Bielefeldt, Giuseppe Dalla Torre, Marc DeGirolami, Thomas Farr, Ken Hackett, Monica Lugato, Mark Movsesian, Francisca Pérez-Madrid, Olivier Roy, Nina Shea, Marco Ventura, John Witte, and Roberto Zaccaria.

For details and information about registration, please click here.

Why Hobby Lobby is a Person

From First Thoughts

Most people think of a corporation as a large, publicly-traded firm with thousands of passive shareholders who have little to do with day-to-day operations: Exxon Mobil. It would be strange for such a corporation to exercise a religion. But most corporations, like Hobby Lobby itself, are small, private firms with a handful of shareholders. Continue Reading »

Choose Your Victims Well

From First Thoughts

Boko Haram has been carrying out atrocities for years. The group has murdered thousands and caused thousands more to flee. It has burned churches with people inside them; it has massacred people in the streets. But until now, the Western media has paid little attention. Why the change? Continue Reading »

A Call for Help for Mideast Christians

From First Thoughts

Yesterday, more than 200 American Christians issued a statement calling for action on behalf of persecuted Mideast Christians. The statement explains that the rise of Islamist extremism in the region threatens the presence of the Christian community, especially in Egypt, Iraq, and Syria. It details . . . . Continue Reading »

A Christian Man

From First Thoughts

Charles Marsh has chosen an apt title for his worthwhile new biography of German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who died in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945. “Strange Glory” is a reference to a passage in one of Bonhoeffer’s sermons on the nature of God. But the phrase also captures the life of Bonhoeffer himself. Continue Reading »

Yesterday’s Decision in the Legislative Prayer Case

From First Thoughts

Most of our fights about the Establishment Clause boil down to this: What can a religious minority reasonably require of the majority? Or, put differently, how far must the majority go to accommodate the sensibilities of the minority? Here, the Court seems to be saying, if a town is overwhelmingly Christian, non-Christians cannot legitimately expect that legislative prayers will be anything but overwhelmingly Christian. To insist on something else would be unreasonable. Continue Reading »

Putin: Ideological, not Irrational

From First Thoughts

Last Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”—the breakfast salon of the bien pensant—Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Rick Stengel took on Vladimir Putin. Stengel attempted to explain how Putin’s conduct in Ukraine damages Putin’s own interests. Putin, Stengel told his interlocutor Steven Rattner with an air of frustration, “is making fundamental errors” that would get him in trouble with the Russian people. “He’s moving further away from the West,” Stengel said, at a time when “people want to be closer to the West.” Rattner agreed that Putin is being “irrational.” Isn’t it obvious? Continue Reading »