This short book of about 100 pages, published by the Witherspoon Institute, summarizes a conference in 2011 on religious freedom, following a 3-year study. International terrorism and extremism, particularly oppression of women, have prompted a closer look onto the subject. Eminent scholars, reported mainly by Timothy Shah, explain the various bases for religious liberty, including anthropological, historical, philosophical, political, traditional and the international urgency and dimensions of a human right that is often taken for granted by those who enjoy it. Perspectives of Christian, Jewish and Muslim religions find common ground for asserting religious freedom, although the Muslim perspective admits to certain difficulties. At the outset, the authors do a nice job of explaining the difficult question of what is religion. If anything is lacking, its an explanation of First Amendment free exercise and establishment clause considerations that are a battleground in the U.S. where increasing government regulations, popular concepts of equal rights, and governmental power conflict with religious beliefs and liberties of some citizens. Overall, this is a fascinating book that urges attention, particularly international attention, to an embattled human right. The Kindle edition is a bargain with menu options for beginning, cover, end and location. The paper edition is larger than pocket size but thin, nicely typeset and well bound. In case you are wondering, the cover of the book, shown on Amazon, shows Mary Dyer, a Quaker, on her way to her hanging in Boston Commons in 1660, for her fourth violation of an ordinance passed by Puritans of Massachusetts, expelling Quakers.
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