Six New Books Tackle Love, Church-State, Islamic Law

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Scholars in the Center for the Study of Law and Religion (CSLR) at Emory University have released six new volumes on topics ranging from love in African America to the role of mainline churches in policy-making to the future of Islamic law.

Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Shari’a (Harvard University Press, 2008) by Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im argues that the coercive enforcement of Islamic Law (Shari’a) by the state betrays the Qur’an’s insistence on voluntary acceptance of Islam. Just as the state should be secure from the misuse of religious authority, Shari’a should be freed from the control of the state.  An-Na'im is Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law and a CSLR senior fellow.

The Classical Foundations of the American Constitution: Prevailing Wisdom (Cambridge University Press, 2008) by David J. Bederman expores how the framers of the American Constitution were substantially influenced by ancient history and classical political theory and how the framing generation deployed this to develop many of the essential structural aspects of the Constitution. Bederman is professor of law and a CSLR associated faculty member.

Love and Marriage in Early African America (Northeastern University Press, 2008) by Frances Smith Foster brings together folk sayings, rhymes, songs, poems, letters, lectures, sermons, short stories, memoirs, and autobiographies spanning from the slave era to the New Negro Movement. The collection contradicts established notions that slavery fractured families, devalued sexual morality, distorted gender roles, and set in motion forces that now produce dismal and dangerous domestic situations. Foster is Charles Howard Candler Professor of English, Chair of Emory's English Department, and a CSLR senior fellow.

God and Government in the Ghetto: The Politics of Church-State Collaboration in Black America (University of Chicago Press, 2008) by Michael Leo Owens shows how the government's faith-based initiatives have served as a means for black clergy to reaffirm their political leadership and reposition moral authority in black civil society. Owens is assistant professor of political science and a CSLR associated faculty member.

Public Pulpits: Methodists and Mainline Churches in the Moral Argument of Public Life (University of Chicago Press, 2008) by Steven M. Tipton examines the political activities of Methodists and mainline churches in this groundbreaking investigation into a generation of denominational strife among church officials, lobbyists, and activists. Documenting a wide range of reactions to two radically different events—the invasion of Iraq and the creation of the faith-based initiatives program—Tipton charts the new terrain of religious and moral argument under the Bush administration. Tipton is professor of sociology of  religion, director of Emory's Graduate Division of Religion, and a CSLR senior fellow.

The Reformation of Rights: Law, Religion, and Human Rights in Early Modern Calvinism (Cambridge University Press, 2008) by John Witte, Jr. explores John Calvin's teachings on rights and liberties, church and state, and religion and politics that shaped the law of Protestant lands. Although periodically challenged by major crises, a Calvinist figure always emerged to modernize the teachings and translate them into dramatic new legal and political reforms.  Witte is Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and CSLR director.

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