- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (June 1, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0190603070
- ISBN-13: 978-0190603076
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 1 x 5.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination 1st Edition
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"In our deeply divided nation, Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination is a refreshing and hope-inspiring book. Provocative, clear, careful in argument, searching in coverage, it shows that people who strongly disagree can both find much common ground and also articulate their differences with respect and care, fostering a community of reason. It will be a wonderful book for undergraduate teaching, but it is also challenging for people well-versed in the subject, whether they agree or disagree." -- Martha C. Nussbaum, School of Law and Department of Philosophy, The University of Chicago
"One of the most important debates in our time is that it of religious liberty as it relates to controversies over sexuality and marriage. Sadly, usually most Americans don't have these debates at all, content to stay in our silos and never engage with those who disagree with us. This book is different. Ryan Anderson, Sherif Girgis, and John Corvino model how to hold strong (very strong) opinions while debating others with respect. This book will equip you, wherever you stand, on how the "other side" from you thinks. If American society follows the lead of this book, our culture wars won't end, but they just might be kinder and smarter. That's a good start." -- Russell Moore, President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
"Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination, is a direct challenge to our cultural moment, opting for careful analysis over clickbait, mutual understanding over demonization, and clearly demarcated disagreement over sweeping dismissal. The authors take the time to lay out their best arguments, then respond to the best arguments of their opponents. Whether or not the book ultimately causes readers to change their views is not the measure of its success. The authors provide a desperately needed model for engagement: they argue with, not at their opponent; they argue together...For a nation that seems more divided than ever, that's a great place to start." --Commonweal Magazine
"...the U.S. remains a large country with citizens of many religions, diametrically opposed opinions, and lifestyles that will inevitably clash. Given that conflict is unavoidable, the authors agree that we ought to foster a culture in which we can seek common ground and conduct debate on the plane of ideas and policy, rather than descend into endless painful lawsuits or bitter social-media feuds with our ideological opponents. Corvino, Anderson, and Girgis illustrate in this compelling book that such a judicious debate can take place and can generate fruitful conversation, as well as delineate areas of authentic agreement and practical compromise. And, perhaps even better than that, they give us the tools we can use to find those agreements and compromises ourselves."--National Review
"Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination...raises the plausibility of living with greater diversity of thought on fundamental issues in civil society. Learning to tolerate religious disagreement has been a signal achievement of liberal societies, and if we can live together with mutually exclusive--but also reciprocally respectful--religious systems thriving in civil society, why can't we expand the scope of that tolerance to include other moral and social issues that divide us?" --LA Review of Books
"... all three authors deserve praise for tackling this subject in this way. They disagree civilly and engage with one another substantively and thoughtfully. In an age when discussions of religious liberty often devolve into cheap political point-scoring, the fact that elevated debate occurred with both charity and clarity is perhaps the ultimate value of this book. May it be a model to disputants on this and other heated subjects, for years to come." --The Weekly Standard
About the Author
John Corvino, Ph.D. is Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. He is the co-author (with Maggie Gallagher) of Debating Same-Sex Marriage (June 2012) and the author of What's Wrong with Homosexuality? (January 2013), both from Oxford University Press.
Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., is William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. He is author of Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom (Regnery, 2015), co-author of What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense (Encounter, 2012) and co-editor of A Liberalism Safe for Catholicism (University of Notre Dame Press, 2017).
Sherif Girgis, J.D., is a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at Princeton and lead author (with Ryan T. Anderson and Robert P. George) of What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense (Encounter Books, 2012). He earned a law degree from Yale and a B.Phil. (M.Phil.) in philosophy from Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.
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That is not what is happening here. All parties concerned are caring and lively. I have had personal contact with each of them and my respect remains, as does theirs for me. That is what Dr Russell Moore (of Southern Baptist fame) in his ringing endorsement is also saying needs to happen. That is what occurs in this amazing context. I may even order some extra copies for loved ones on either side who think I have jumped off the deep end by referring to myself as SSA (same sex attracted) instead of fully identifying as "gay," and why I would willingly choose celibacy instead of hunting incessantly for a partner or spouse of either gender. I even had one well-meaning person at work recently tell me "don't sell yourself short" when it comes to meeting and loving someone. I can tell people I haven't done so, but I am not naïve enough to think they believe me fully or understand. Now though, after over a decade back in the Church some are starting to at least realize I am deadly serious about it. They, both friends and sometimes family, fear I am "missing out" on life by making such a choice and I get it., They also believe that God could not possibly expect that of me or others in my situation. I beg to differ however, and often to loving but deaf ears.
To this pilgrim, Christ and the Holy Eucharist, which He gave to the Church this very day 2000 years ago on the first Holy (Maundy) Thursday is worth every night I sleep alone in my beautiful queen sized bed. He is my life, and He is enough to give me the purpose and fulfillment that I need to get up each morning. Enough about me though. This books takes it one step further in that it demonstrates why the social ramifications of movements such as "marriage equality" and simultaneous breakdown of the one man/woman family unit have to be a major and even essential part of the narrative rather than someone's personal disgust or anger at what they perceive as either discrimination by religious bigots (and sometimes rightly so) or on the other hand a mischaracterization of the "pursuit of happiness" which we all have a right to. Both views have merit, both have dangers if taken too far, and ideally they do not need to contradict each other. There is a balance, and often we only gain it by viewing, with genuine respect, those with opposite perspectives. The authors here accomplish this with unbridled clarity mixed with authentic kindness. This is the discussion which is most needed now, I believe, and the very one which brought me back to Rome in the first place. To say I recommend it is nearly anti-climactic. I believe it is the best treatment of mutual understanding on the topic out there today thus far. Get it. Get ten.
Does anyone need someone else's respect?
Mr. Corvino's description of the legislative system - Congress passes legislation, Executive Office signs legislation and the Supreme Court rules legislation is unconstitutional - fails to account for what is the result. No legislation has been enacted.
Corvino's starting point is that objections to laws banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender-identity (i.e. "SOGI laws") might be grounded in reasonable and morally decent views. Ultimately though, he severely narrows the scope of these legitimate objections and expresses his doubts about the legitimacy of religious opt-outs, viewing them more as "religious privilege" than religious freedom. Anderson and Girgis appropriately approach the task from two directions, asking, first, whether the empirical or social realities make SOGI laws (which by their very nature are coercive) necessary, and second, whether these laws strike an appropriate balance between protecting the integrity of dissenters and meeting the legitimate public accommodation interests of LGBT people. They answer no to both questions.
While both positions in the debate have their strengths and weakness, ultimately I find that of Anderson and Girgis more compelling. As a matter of fact, LGBT Americans do not face anything near the realities that African-Americans faced in the 1950's and 1960's. For every evangelical florist who refuses to do a bouquet for a lesbian couple's wedding, there are likely to be 5 local florists who hang rainbow flags above their store fronts and offer same-sex discounts in response. In blue states, and in blue cities in red states, support for LGBT (and increasingly, -Q) causes is fast becoming a litmus tests for admission into decent company. All the incentives of the marketplace are aligned in their favor, too: Corporate America (most of Fortune 500), Big Law, the mainstream media, academia, Hollywood, and most public school systems are now highly supportive (or at least tolerant) of gay rights.
Are there lingering areas of discrimination and disparity? Sure. But as Anderson and Girgis rightly suggest, that alone is not enough to mount a case for anti discrimination law, unless you view the law as an expression of values irrespective of its real-world implications (a question the authors never really discuss). The case for a need for legal "protections" is weak, and the case for such laws burdening a minority of Christian dissenters (who, one might suspect, are often being targeted for their views by the victors in the culture wars) is correspondingly strong. In short, your take on this fascinating debate will hinge, to a considerable extent, on who you think is the targeted and politically persecuted minority.