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Pluralism, Politics and God


Symposium to tackle faith, law and coexistence in a changing world
In an era when the most daunting complexities of faith, values and identity play out in society’s daily efforts to reconcile individual rights, collective rights and human rights, every headline raises new questions. Who will define the “reasonable” in reasonable accommodation? If gay marriage is legal, do religions that fail to recognize it lose their charitable status? Can legal rights be threatened by the beliefs and customs of faiths or can freedom of religion be overruled by claims to individual or group rights?

From Sept. 13th to 15th, 2007, hundreds of the world’s foremost scholars of religion, law, philosophy, politics and culture will gather at McGill University for Pluralism, Politics and God: An International Symposium on Religion and Public Reason. Sponsored by the Newman Centre of McGill University and the Faculty of Religious Studies, the symposium will present an array of academic panels for delegates as well as a selection of public panels including Religion, Sex and the City with law professor Roderick MacDonald and renowned ethicist Margaret Somerville; Rights, Religion and the State with Ontario Superior Court Justice David M. Brown, Cardozo University public law professor Marci Hamilton, McGill Hinduism professor Katherine Young and Rev. Barry Lynn, Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State; Reasonable Accommodation, a panel discussion with McGill religious studies professor Daniel Cere and political science professor Jacob Levy; and Beyond the Clash of Civilizations, a closing panel debate with Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity) Jason Kenney, McGill Islamic Studies Director Robert Wisnovsky and University of Edinburgh theologian and ethicist Nicholas Adams.

Also open to the public, the Public Lecture Religion and the State will be delivered Sept. 13th at 7:30 p.m. by John Witte Jr., Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University. A specialist in legal history, marriage and religious liberty, Prof. Witte has published 120 articles and 18 books, and has been selected Most Outstanding Professor nine times by the students of Emory University School of Law.


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