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Vol 23 No 5 May/June 2018

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Taking Rites Seriously: Law, Politics, and the Reasonableness of Faith

ISBN13: 9781107112728
Published: November 2015
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £64.99
Paperback edition , ISBN13 9781107533059

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Taking Rites Seriously is about how religious beliefs and religious believers are assessed by judges and legal scholars and are sometimes mischaracterized and misunderstood by those who are critical of the influence of religion in politics or in the formation of law.

Covering three general topics - reason and motive, dignity and personhood, nature and sex - philosopher and legal theorist Francis J. Beckwith carefully addresses several contentious legal and cultural questions over which religious and non-religious citizens often disagree: the rationality of religious belief, religiously motivated legislation, human dignity in bioethics, abortion and embryonic stem cell research, reproductive rights and religious liberty, evolutionary theory, and the nature of marriage.

In the process, he responds to some well-known critics of public faith - including Brian Leiter, Steven Pinker, Suzanna Sherry, Ronald Dworkin, John Rawls, and Richard Dawkins - as well as to some religiously conservative critics of secularism, such as the advocates for intelligent design.

Constitutional and Administrative Law, Human Rights and Civil Liberties
1. Introduction: faith seeking understanding

Part I. Reason and Motive
2. Fides, ratio et juris: how some courts and some legal theorists misrepresent the rational status of religious beliefs
3. Theological exclusionary rule: the judicial misuse of religious motives

Part II. Dignity and Personhood
4. Dignity never been photographed: bioethics, policy, and Steven Pinker's materialism
5. Personhood, prenatal life, and religious belief

Part III. Nature and Sex
6. How to be an anti-intelligent design advocate: science, religion, and the problem of intelligent design
7. Same-sex marriage and justificatory liberalism: religious liberty, comprehensive doctrines, and public life
8. Conclusion: taking rites seriously.