The Golden Thread of Religious Liberty: Comparing the Thought of John Locke and James Madison

KEVIN VANCE

OXFORD JOURNAL OF LAW AND RELIGION, Volume 6, Issue 2

Abstract: The views of the American founders on religious liberty provide fertile ground for a range of different interpretations of the extent of legal protections for religious liberty and how religious liberty is justified. Although John Locke’s arguments for religious liberty were influential on the American founders, several founders, including James Madison, departed from or developed Locke’s arguments in a way that emphasizes how a human being’s religious obligations can limit the power of civil government. Contemporary religious liberty scholars have emphasized Madison’s apparent departure from Locke in order to help justify legal exemptions for religious practices. Although Locke did not directly link the duty of human beings to worship God according to one’s conscience to the right of religious liberty, I argue that each part of Madison’s argument is already present in Locke.

Judaism and Liberalism: Israel’s Economic Problem with its Haredim

DAVID CONWAY

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS, Volume 37, Issue 2

Abstract: This article argues that, in the arrangements for the public provision of welfare for the poor and a basic education for all in both biblical and post-biblical times, Judaism is more closely in accord with classical liberalism than it is with those variants of liberalism which favour no more than the minimal night-watchman state as well as those which favour the extensive welfare states of contemporary Western social democracies. To the extent that Israel’s ultra-orthodox Jews (its Haredim) have been able to secure more by way of state subsidies (through exploiting the leverage their country’s national system of proportional representation has given them, which often leaves them holding the balance of power), not only are they endangering Israel’s viability as a vibrant, developed liberal democracy, they are also guilty of departing from the religious teachings and tradition of Jewish orthodoxy.

The Problem of Natural Religion in Smith’s Moral Thought

COLIN HEYDT

JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF IDEAS

Abstract: Adam Smith is one of the philosophers whose views on the relation of morality to religion have been very actively debated. It is accepted that Smith had unorthodox personal religious beliefs. The crux of the debate, however, is whether or not the God of natural religion is essential, in one or more ways, to Smith’s moral theory. A number of recent interpretations defend the description of Adam Smith as “a strong supporter of natural theology.”2 This paper argues [End Page 73] against that claim, using both novel evidence and familiar evidence applied in novel ways. I demonstrate here that Smith took positions at odds with a commitment to natural religion’s importance for morality. In particular, I show that it is hard to square Smith’s alleged support of natural religion with his account of conscience, his natural-rights theory, and his omission of piety from his catalogue of virtues.

The Impact of Holy Land Crusades on State Formation: War Mobilization, Trade Integration, and Political Development in Medieval Europe

LISA BLAYDES AND CHRISTOPHER PAIK
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION, VOLUME 70, ISSUE 3

Abstract: Holy Land Crusades were among the most significant forms of military mobilization to occur during the medieval period. Crusader mobilization had important implications for European state formation. We find that areas with large numbers of Holy Land crusaders witnessed increased political stability and institutional development as well as greater urbanization associated with rising trade and capital accumulation, even after taking into account underlying levels of religiosity and economic development. Our findings contribute to a scholarly debate regarding when the essential elements of the modern state first began to appear. Although our causal mechanisms—which focus on the importance of war preparation and urban capital accumulation—resemble those emphasized by previous research, we date the point of critical transition to statehood centuries earlier, in line with scholars who emphasize the medieval origins of the modern state. We also point to one avenue by which the rise of Muslim military and political power may have affected European institutional development.

Two Concepts of Religious Liberty: The Natural Rights and Moral Autonomy Approaches to the Free Exercise of Religion

VINCENT PHILLIP MUÑOZ
AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW 110.2 (2016): 369-381

Abstract: Due in part to the influence of Michael McConnell, free exercise exemptionism is generally thought to be compatible with, if not dictated by, the founders’ church-state political philosophy. This article rejects that position, arguing instead that America’s constitutional tradition offers two distinct conceptions of religious liberty: the founders’ natural rights free exercise and modern moral autonomy exemptionism. The article aims to distinguish these two approaches by clarifying how they are grounded upon divergent philosophical understandings of human freedom and by explaining how they advance different views of what religious liberty is, how it is threatened, and, accordingly, how it is best protected. The article also attempts to demonstrate how our modern approach expands the protection for religious liberty in some ways but limits it in others.

Symposium: My Understanding of Adam Smith’s Impartial Spectator

ECON JOURNAL WATCH 13.2 (2016)

The mysterious impartial spectator is addressed by leading Smith scholars: What is the impartial spectator, in Smith’s highest sense of that expression? Does the impartial spectator have knowledge that is super-human? Is it universal? How does the impartial spectator relate to “the man within the breast”? To the being whose hand is invisible? To God?

Contributions:

The Rule of Law and Constitutionalism in Muslim Countries

JERG GUTMAN, STEFAN VOIGT
PUBLIC CHOICE (2015). ADVANCED ONLINE PUBLICATION. 10.1007/s11127-015-0237-z

Abstract: Recently, several Muslim countries have ratified new constitutions. In this paper, we ask two questions: first, whether Muslim influence has a discernible impact on the content of such constitutions and, second, whether it has an impact on constitutional reality. More precisely, we are interested in the consequences of Islam for institutions securing the rule of law, while taking competing socioeconomic, geographic, and historical explanations explicitly into account. Continue reading