Site Content

The Rule of Law and the Rule of God

Rule of Law and the Rule of God logo

A Symposium on Ethics, Religion & Law

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pugh Auditorium, Benson University Center

Wake Forest University invites distinguished politicians and scholars to discuss the future of law and religion in face of many challenges posed by globalization. In recent years, we have seen religion reestablishing itself as an important force to be reckoned with in the contemporary world. Once often sidelined in the West as a private matter or an antiquated estate from the past, religion seemed to be on its slow path to social insignificance. Yet, religion has proven itself to be resilient and still strong. From social conservatism to religious fundamentalism to progressive politics, religion once again wants to help shape the social and political landscape of contemporary societies. Whether and how such religious activism should be countenanced remains a matter of urgent practical importance.

In addition, globalization, a stepchild of modern technology and capitalism, has given a new life and meaning to the face of law and religion in many ways. Now concrete social, economic and political problems affect different peoples on the globe in a way that was unimaginable before, and ideas connect these peoples across national boundaries. Just as many modern constitutional democratic societies have to address the challenges of globalization, ranging from humanitarian crises to environmental issues, religion as a supranational force must also cope with other global dynamics in economy, health and law.  In view of these facts, this conference seeks to explore the ways in which law and religion can make distinct contribution to the welfare of humanity.

Conference organizer: Simeon Ilesanmi, Washington M. Wingate Professor of Religion, Wake Forest University

Speaker Biographies

Tentative Schedule

9:00 – 9:30 AM: Welcome by President Nathan Hatch or Provost Jill Tiefenthaler

9:30 – 11:30 AM: Global God and Local Citizens

1st Session: Chair: Simeon Ilesanmi, Washington M. Wingate Professor of Religion, Wake Forest University

Mark Lilla, Professor of the Humanities, Columbia University, “The Return of Political Theology”

William Schweiker, Director of the Martin Marty Center and Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of Theological Ethics, “Monotheistic Faith and Cosmopolitan Conscience”

John Kelsay, Distinguished Research Professor and Richard L. Rubenstein Professor of Religion, Florida State University, “The Global God and the God of War”

Question and Answer Time

12:00 – 1:00 PM: Lunch and Conversation with Students

1:30 – 3:30 PM: Issues in Law and Religion: Gender, Rights of Religious Minorities, and Multiculturalism

2nd Session: Chair: Win-Chiat Lee, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Wake Forest University

Anita L. Allen-Castellitto, Deputy Dean and Henry Silverman Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Hijabs and Headwraps: the Case for Tolerance

Lynn Davidman, Beren Distinguished Professor of Modern Jewish Studies, University of Kansas

Respondent: Sahar Aziz, Senior Policy Advisor at the Office for Civil Rights, Department of Homeland Security

4:00 – 6:00 PM: Aspirations and the Limits of Law

3rd Session: Chair: Wilson Parker, Professor of Law, Wake Forest University

Frank Ravitch, Professor of Law and Walter H. Stowers Chair in Law and Religion, Michigan State University, “Religion, Neutrality, and Liberty: Epistemology and Judicial Interpretation”

Andrew March, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Law, Yale University, “Theocrats Living Under Secular Law: An Engagement with Islamic Legal Theory”

Respondent: Richard Miller, Director of Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions and Professor of Religious Studies, Indiana University

Sponsors: Office of the Provost, Department of Religion, Department of Philosophy, Department of Political Science, School of Law and School of Divinity