More Law & Religion events and a paper

A number of interesting events are coming up in the Law and Religion area in Australia, and I also wanted to mention a new paper exploring some important issues.

Australasian Christian Legal Convention 2016

The ACLC will be held on Brisbane from 29 September to 1 October. It is specifically a gathering for those interested in the intersections between Christianity and the law.

From the website:

The theme of the Convention will be “Redeeming the law for the kingdom of God in Australia.“ The conference is open to lawyers, law students, persons involved in the administration of justice and those with a concern for justice in our community.

The international key note speaker for the Convention is Mike Schutt from the USA, the director of the Christian Legal Society (CLS) Law School Ministries and of the Institute for Christian Legal Studies, a cooperative ministry of the CLS and Trinity Law School, where he is a Visiting Professor.

There will be a number of other speakers, including <cough> myself. Should be an interesting event.

Religious Liberty Conference ‘Varieties of Diversity’

Coming up more quickly, the University of Notre Dame, Sydney, Law School will be hosting 2 days of material on religious freedom on August 18-19. (See here for a flyer with all the details.) The event opens on the Thursday evening Aug 18:

The Conference will begin with the University’s Annual Religious Liberty Lecture on Thursday 18 August. This year’s lecture will be presented by Iain Benson, Professor of Law at Notre Dame. Iain has also been appointed as an Extraordinary Professor of Law at the University of the Orange Free State in South Africa in recognition of his status as an international constitutional and human rights lawyer, and as a religious liberty expert.

There will be a range of interesting speakers on other topics on the Friday:

Learn how you can protect religious liberty in Australia:

  • How anti-discrimination and same-sex marriage interfere with your freedom to practice your religion.
  • Is it appropriate to think of equality without considering religious equality?
  • How “safe” is the safe schools program?
  • Parental authority and consultation in relation to education.

The Democratic Deficit

Finally, I wanted to flag for those who haven’t seen it yet an excellent recent research paper by Peter Kurti, from the Centre for Independent Studies, entitled The Democratic Deficit: How Minority Fundamentalism Threatens Liberty in Australia. From the summary:

We are faced with a new kind of fundamentalism – call it ‘minority fundamentalism.’ It has all the features of religious fundamentalism, such as ideological fanaticism, intolerance of dissent, and a Manichaean certainty about truth and falsehood. The goal of the minority fundamentalists is to eradicate all forms of discrimination in the name of liberating those deemed to be oppressed. In this age of the new intolerance, punishment by intimidation and vilification is meted out to those who think differently. This leads to what is known as a ‘democratic deficit’ – a growing discrepancy between our expectations and our experience of democratic institutions. This widening of the democratic deficit is indicative of an increasing readiness on the part of self-appointed guardians of the moral and social order to privilege the sensitivities of the minority over those of the majority. Minority fundamentalism poses a threat to the normal political and social functions that we take for granted.

Some very sharp insights here into current debates in Australia and elsewhere.