Secular Constitutionalism: Introduction to the ICLRS Webinar, held December 7, 2020

Brett G. Scharffs is the Rex E. Lee Chair, Professor of Law, and the Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University. BSBA, MA Georgetown University, B.Phil Oxford University (Rhodes Scholar), JD Yale Law School

The blog/webinar model represents a new and important method for doing meaningful work. We can listen and learn from each other, even when we cannot be physically together, and it allows us to post the work quickly and get it into the marketplace of ideas. This is important with the world we live in, and the rapidly changing situation with COVID. I’d like to thank all of our scholars, thanks to those of you who are joining us to listen, and thanks to those who are speaking. We will be focusing today on secular constitutionalism in Poland, Russia, Germany, and Australia.

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Russian Orthodox Symphonia in the Time of Coronavirus

Mikhail Antonov is a Professor of Law associated with the Law Faculty at the National Research University “Higher School of Economics” (Saint Petersburg)

 

In “The Basis of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church,” adopted at the Sacred Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church (the ROC) on August 14, 2000, the Church referenced the medieval conception of Symphonia to describe the church’s ideal relationship with the Russian state in terms of “body” (state) and “soul” (church): “it is in their linkage and harmony that the well-being of a state lies.” According to the Social Concept, the ROC affirms the general principle of separation of church and state, which is that they shall be distinguished by their competences or spheres of authority, and that cooperation must be based on “mutual support and mutual responsibility without one side intruding into the exclusive domain of the other” (section III.4).

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Religious Freedom in the Age of Coronavirus: Legal and Non-Legal Strategies for Finding Community and Hope


This post by Brett G. Scharffs , Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies is taken from remarks at the 2020  Religious Freedom Annual Review, Religion and Religious Freedom in the COVID-19 Era: Finding Community and Hope, an Online Discussion held  June 17, 18, and 19, 2020.

The current coronavirus pandemic as presents a kind of stress test upon us and upon the institutions to which we belong. As we strive to behave responsibly, avoiding crowds, wearing masks, physical distancing, this is surely a time that is testing the strength and resilience of the bridges that connect us one with another, a time that is trying our hearts.

We may find ourselves as if balanced on a razor’s edge, with despair lying on one side and rage on the other. We are already seeing evidence of mental and economic tolls this crisis is exacting, alongside the more obvious public health toll.  We are all affected by the horrific price the coronavirus has exacted. The toll upon those who have suffered the illness, and upon their families, is unfathomable: more than 7 million people worldwide have contracted it, many suffering terribly.  More than 400,000 have died. (more…)

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