Tony Blair Says Religion in the Public Realm Is Vital

Religion isn’t dying, nor should it, said Tony Blair in a 2 January 2012 blogpost “Faith in a Globalized Age,” published on New Europe Online. The former British Prime Minister note that “for years, it was assumed, certainly in the West, that, as society developed, religion would wither away.  But it hasn’t, and, at the start of a new decade, it is time to take religion seriously.” To that end Blair has created a Faith Foundation, “to create greater understanding between the faiths.”

In a companion post, “Taking Faith Seriously,” published the same day,…

Geneva, March-April 2011: Resolution Focuses on Individual Religious Freedom Rights

From the Associated Press: The U.N.’s top human rights body has replaced its traditional condemnation of religious ‘defamation’ with a resolution underlining the right of individuals to freedom of belief. The unanimous vote Thursday by the 47-member U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva was welcomed by…

EU Parliament Committee Discusses Crucifixes in Italian State-School Classrooms

13 April 2011 – European Parliament, Committee on Petitions

Following the recent judgment (Lautsi and Others v. Italy, no. 30814/06) of the European Court of Human Rights concerning the presence of crucifixes in Italian State-school classrooms, the Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament on 13.04.2011 discussed a petition [Petition 1594/2010 by Gabriele Cervi (Italian), on maintaining crucifixes in Italian schools] where the petitioner argues in favour of the respect for national identities and traditions of the Member States of the Union with reference to their common heritage and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. 

Commentary on Lautsi v. Italy

This blurb tracks responsible commentary concerning the controversial “Italian crucifix” case, particularly in light of the recent Grand Chamber judgment (Lautsi and Others v. Italy) announced by the European Court of Human Rights on 18 March 2011. The opinions appearing here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of members of the Strasbourg Consortium. We will strive for a balance in ideas, and we invite the particpation of any who wish to join the discussion. Of course, we must reserve the right to judge the suitability for our audience of any comments we receive.

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Fr. Lombardi is wrong; the judgment isn’t about Europe’s Christian roots.  (William Oddie, Catholic Herald,…

“Religion and Knowledge” Conference, Durham University

March-April 2009 – Durham, England

A conference was held at St Chad’s College, Durham University, in the historic city of Durham, England, on 30 March – 1 April 2009, sponsored by the British Sociological Association, Sociology of Religion Study Group.  The theme of the conference was “Religion and Knowledge,” and it featured stimulating sessions on a variety of themes, some of perennial importance, others emerging from recent debates, taking place within presenters’ disciplines or in the wider public square. Presenters included Professor Steve Fuller of the University of Warwick, whose plenary lecture drew from his important recent work on the sociology of the intelligent design movement, Professor Elizabeth Cooksey of Ohio State University, who spoke on her research on the Amish in the US.  Professor David Chalcraft of the University of Derby chaired a panel session on sociological approaches to Biblical texts. 

Other conference themes included “The sociology of Religious Education * Clandestine knowledge and religious identity * The legitimation & de-legitimation of religious knowledge * Guardianship and control of religious knowledge * The legacy of the sociology of knowledge * Epistemological challenges facing the sociology of religion * Resurgent secularism and the ‘New Atheism’ I have already received confirmation from , and we would welcome further offers of panel topics in addition to individual papers. Of course, off-theme papers are also most welcome, and I am more than happy to discuss ideas for papers and/or panels by email (m.j.guest@durham.ac.uk). Abstracts should be sent to me by 12th January, 2009 (deadline for registration is 1st March 2009). The 2009 conference will take place in the historic city of Durham, and based at St Chad’s College, we will be ideally placed to appreciate the nearby sites of historical interest, including the cathedral and castle. I look forward to seeing you in Durham, and if you have any queries about the conference, please do not hesitate to contact me. Mathew Guest Durham University email: m.j.guest@durham.ac.uk For more information, including registration information, click here.