Book Publication Event Highlights Exciting Year Ahead for St. John’s Center for Law and Religion

Monday, October 7, 2013

On September 25, 2013, members of the St. John’s community gathered at the Harvard Club of New York City for a conversation about Professor Marc O. DeGirolami’s new book, The Tragedy of Religious Freedom (Harvard University Press). The book criticizes First Amendment religion clause scholarship and presents an approach that focuses on the multitude of values protected in the American tradition of religious freedom. As the publisher notes:

“Offering new views of how to understand and protect religious freedom in a democracy, The Tragedy of Religious Freedom challenges the idea that matters of law and religion should be referred to far-flung theories about the First Amendment. Examining a broad array of contemporary and more established Supreme Court rulings, Marc DeGirolami explains why conflicts implicating religious liberty are so emotionally fraught and deeply contested.”

The Harvard Club conversation was facilitated by Professor Mark L. Movsesian who directs the Law School’s Center for Law and Religion, along with Professor DeGirolami. Established in 2010, the Center provides a forum for the study of law and religion from domestic, international, and comparative perspectives.  In addition to hosting conferences and speakers from academia and public life, it coordinates the Law School’s law and religion curriculum, and promotes dialogue among scholars with different viewpoints, both religious and non-religious. 

"It was a pleasure to discuss the book with my friends, colleagues, and students," Professor DeGirolami said. Andrew Rosati, one of the Fellows of the Center, added: “It was a great opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of a wonderful professor and to share the important work of the Center for Law and Religion.”

One of the highlights of the Center’s current work is an exciting new seminar for Spring 2014, the Joint Colloquium in Law and Religion offered with Villanova Law School . The course invites leading law and religion scholars to make presentations to an audience of selected students and faculty. The schools will be connected in real-time by video link so that students and faculty at both schools can participate in a virtual classroom experience. At St. John’s, the colloquium will be hosted by Professors Movsesian and DeGirolami. Vice Dean and Professor Michael P. Moreland will host at Villanova.

“The Joint Colloquium is modeled on the highly-successful Colloquium in Law , which the Center for Law and Religion hosted at St. John’s in 2012,”Professor Movsesian said. “Our new partnership with Villanova will enrich the course by allowing our students to participate in conversations with their counterparts at another school. It will also take advantage of new distance-learning technologies that St. John’s provides.”

The Center also produces the Center for Law and Religion Forum. Regularly updated, the website offers a comprehensive compilation of new law and religion scholarship – the latest American law review scholarship as well as foreign and comparative pieces and new books in law and religion. It also provides engaging commentary by Center faculty and student fellows on law and religion issues in the news and around the web, along with useful links to law and religion research centers, blogs, and news sites.  

To learn more about Professor DeGirolami’s new book, and for the latest news on the Center for Law and Religion and its diverse offerings, please visit the Center for Law and Religion Forum.