Graduate Course Code: POL2037H1F L0101
Law, Religion, and Public Discourse
What is lost when secularism defines the norms of public discourse in ways that prohibit reference to religious beliefs as the source of claims or arguments? What would an optimal understanding of the secular be? These questions will be explored in relation to different types of discourse (legal, religious, political), different issues (protection of the environment, patenting higher life forms, and homosexuality), and different faiths or traditions (Aboriginal, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and non-affiliated). While the course will address the issue of the separation of church and state, the primary focus will not be on constitutional guarantees of religious freedom. One of the central purposes of the course will be to envision ways in which religious and spiritual beliefs could become respectable dimensions of legal, political, and academic discourse while sustaining a deep respect for pluralism and attending to the dangers that underlie the commitment to the separation of church and state.
Format and Requirements
Class participation (including weekly written comments either on one of the readings or on another student's written comments); a 25-page paper. (Arts and Sciences undergraduates who need graded work returned before the drop date will write one 5-page paper and one