How can religion contribute to democracy in a secular age?
What can the millennia-old Catholic tradition say to church-state controversies in the United States and around the world?
Secularism, Catholicism, and the Future of Public Life, presents a dialogue between Douglas W.
Kmiec, a prominent scholar of American constitutional law and Catholic legal thought, and an international cast of experts from a range of fields. In his essay, "SecularismCrucified?," Kmiec illustrates the profound tensions around religion and secularism through an examination of the Lautsi case, a European judicial decision that supported the presence of crucifixes in Italian classrooms.
Laying out a church-state typology, Kmiec argues for clarifying U.S. church-state jurisprudence, andadvances principles to prudently limit the over-stretching impulse of religious conscience claims.
In the process, he engages secular thinkers, popes, U.S.
Supreme Court rulings, and President Barack Obama. The respondents, scholars of legal theory, international relations, journalism, religion, and social science, challenge Kmiec and illustrate ways in which both scholars and citizens should understand religion, democracy, and secularism.
Their essays bring together current events in Catholic life, recent social theory, and issues such as migration, the Arab Spring, and social change.