New issue, now live

The April 10 issue is now live on the website. The full table of contents is here, and these are some of the highlights.

Andrew Koppelman on keeping the “religion” in religious freedom:

[The American legal tradition of according religion special treatment] has become intensely controversial of late, reflecting a growing scholarly consensus that special treatment of religion cannot be justified. While some scholars would rule out all legal accommodation, the more common view would allow it in certain cases, but under another description. It is morally arbitrary to single out “religion,” the argument goes, and so a different legal category, such as “conscience,” should be used. A second and related objection is that the bounds of “religion” are so indeterminate that the term is meaningless—a term that European colonizers, for instance, used willy-nilly to describe whatever local practices somehow reminded them of Christianity.

The singling out of religion for special legal treatment, I will argue here in response, is appropriate, and precisely because religion doesn’t correspond to any narrow category of morally salient thought or conduct; as such it is a concept flexible enough to be accommodated legally while keeping the state neutral about theological questions. Other, more specific categories are either too sectarian to be politically usable, too underinclusive, or too vague to be administrable.

Read all of “Nonexistent & Irreplaceable” here

Susan Wood reviews essays on ecumenism by the late Margaret O’Gara:

Although the church may not turn back in its commitment to ecumenism, O’Gara reminds us, echoing Pope John Paul II, that “no pilgrim knows in advance all the steps along the path.” Nor will that path be easy for pilgrims bent on the spiritual transformation that flows from collaboration: “they spend their time and talents on lengthy studies of positions they only gradually come to understand,” O’Gara writes with sympathy; “they endure the embarrassment and frustration that flow from the sins of their own church communion and from those of their dialogue partner’s church communion as well; and frequently their efforts are feared or suspected by members of their own church.”

Read all of “No Turning Back” here.

Also in the April 10 issue: William Pfaff writes on signs of dissent from America’s European allies, Richard Alleva reviews the film Leviathan, and Peter Quinn reflects on Baby Boomers “in the nightfall of old age.”

Dominic Preziosi is Commonweal’s editor. Follow him on Twitter.

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