Skip to main content

Full text of "Law, religion and public discourse"

See other formats


UNIVERSITY OF 

TORONTO 


FACULTY OF LAW 



LAW, RELIGION AND PUBLIC DISCOURSE 

Fall 2010 


Professors Anver Emon and Jennifer Nedelsky 


Faculty of Law 
University of Toronto 
























•BOMUSKMUBFWRY 


AUG 1 7 2010 

FACULTY OF LAW 
I UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO 








UNIVERSITY OF 

TORONTO 

FACULTY OF LAW 


LAW, RELIGION AND PUBLIC DISCOURSE 


Fall 2010 


Professors Anver Emon and Jennifer Nedelsky 


Faculty of Law 
University of Toronto 


Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2018 with funding from 
University of Toronto 


https://archive.org/details/lawreligionpubli2010emon 


Law, Religion and Public Discourse 

FA11 2010 

Anver Emon and Jennifer Nedelsky 


Office hours: Jennifer Nedelsky, Tuesday 4:00 - 5:30 or by appointment, Flavelle, 318, 
j.nedelsky@utoronto.ca . 416 978 4214 

Assistant: Aleatha Cox, aleatha. cox@utoronto.ca 416 946 8310 

Office hours: Anver Emon, Tuesday 4:00-5:30 or by appointment, Flavelle 325, 

anver.emon@utoronto.ca 416 946 0832 

Assistant: Aleatha Cox, aleatha.cox@utoronto.ca 416 946 8310 


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 (in particular, the 
environment and education for equality with respect to same sex relationships), and 
different faiths or traditions. We encourage students to regularly bring in concrete 
examples of the use of spiritually based arguments with respect to a wide range of issues, 
such as economic and social justice, animal rights, as well as the more conventional 
issues of abortion and same sex marriage. One of the recurring questions will be the 
extent to which public deliberation requires “publicly accessible” reasons and where faith 
based argument fits with that requirement. Another is the extent to which the hostility to 
religiously grounded argument is based on the view that such arguments are, by their 
nature, not founded on reason. 

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. We will be examining arguments for 
and against such inclusion. 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: 

REQUIRED READING: COURSE PACK AVAILABLE FROM FACULTY OF 
LAW BOOKSTORE 


“COMMENTS” AND “RESPONSES”: 

The core of the course will be the discussions of the assigned reading each week. To 
structure and facilitate an informed discussion, students will be required to write 
“Comments” on the readings, and “Responses” to other students’ comments. 


1 






Students will be organized into 4 groups. Each week, each of the students from one of 
the groups is responsible for posting a 1-2 page commentary on the reading. (The groups 
for each week are marked on the syllabus.) Each of the students from another group will 
be responsible for a 1 page response. 

The COMMENTS should be your reflections on the reading in light of the ongoing 
conversation in the course. Thus students are encouraged not only to comment on what 
they find particularly interesting, important or troubling in the readings, but how this 
connects to previous readings and to the ongoing dialogue. Students from one other 
group are required to post “RESPONSES” to one of the comments. Responses are your 
thoughts, reflections, and reactions to the comments. They should be about one page. 
Students should post their intention to respond to a particular comment as soon as 
they have selected it so that, ideally, each of the “comments” will get a response (as 
opposed to having a cluster of responses to one comment, and none for the others). ALL 
students should read the comments and responses. 

LATE COMMENTS OR RESPONSES WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED, but if you are 

unable to attend class on a day your comment or response is due, you should do the 
comment or response for another class. This way I can incorporate your written 
submissions into the class discussion, which is harder if you are not there to participate in 
the conversation. If for any reason you camiot do a comment or response for the date 
assigned to your group, you can do it on another week when you will not otherwise be 
doing a comment or response. Send an e-mail to let us know. 

Comments and responses are to be posted on the joint law and political science 
version of this course listed on Blackboard. They should be posted under discussion 
forum by date. Be sure to put your name, group number, and heading of 
“comment” or “response” in your posting. 

Comments are to be posted by 12:00 noon on Sunday and Responses by 5:00 P.M. 
on Monday. 


EVALUATION: GRADUATE STUDENTS AND LAW STUDENTS: 

The weekly comments and responses will form a part of the class participation mark of 
25%. Students will receive their “comments” back with very brief remarks and a grade. 
The responses (which are recorded, but not graded) and regular class discussion will 
constitute the rest of the participation mark. 


A 25-page PAPER due last date for written work, April 30, noon. 75% 


The paper will focus on 3 or 4 of the readings, connecting them to each other and to the 
main themes of the course. Students should show how together they contribute to these 


? 


themes, or develop a particular problem related to these themes, and use the articles to work 
the problem through, or show how the insights of these articles help us better understand a 
particular concrete case or problem. If you are using an example not drawn from the course 
material, be sure you do not spend too much space presenting the example. A maximum ot 
2-3 pages. If you find you cannot present the example you have in mind within that space, 
you may use additional pages. But then you will need to add those additional pages to the 
total length of the paper, so that you still have at least 22 pages of analysis, integrating the 
example into your discussion of the texts and the key issues. A similar approach applies to 
using material outside the assigned reading. You are, of course, welcome to note other 
material that adds to your argument. But if you spending more than a few lines referring to 
that material, you should ensure that you still have the required page length devoted to the 
analysis of the texts and issues in the course. 

STUDENTS WISHING TO DO A RESEARCH PAPER MUST SUBMIT A 
PROPOSAL BY FEBRUARY 16. It must relate to the main theoretical issues of the 
course and engage with some of the assigned reading. 

BY THE LAST CLASS, STUDENTS SHOULD SUBMIT A PARAGRAPH 
SUMMARY OF THEIR PAPER TOPIC AND THE TEXTS THEY WILL FOCUS 
ON, OR AN OUTLINE OF THE PAPER WHICH IDENTIFIES THE TEXTS. 
STUDENTS MAY SUBMIT THIS SUMMARY OR OUTLINE EARLIER, BUT I 
RECOMMEND THAT IF YOU DO SO YOU AT LEAST SKIM ALL THE 
MATERIALS SO YOU WILL KNOW WHICH WILL WORK BEST FOR YOUR 
TOPIC. 

IF YOU INTEND TO USE MATERIALS OUTSIDE THE SYLLABUS (BEARING 
IN MIND THE REQUIREMENTS ABOVE), A BIBLIOGRAPHY SHOULD BE 
INCLUDED. 

PAPERS MUST BE SUBMITTED VIA “TURN IT IN.COM” as well as in hard copy 
(2 copies please). The hard copy must have the tumitin number on it. 


EVALUATION: UNDERGRADUATES: 


Three 2 page papers that serve as “comments”, worth 10% each. Even though these 
papers are short, they should be written with care. You have the option of writing one 
additional paper, with the top 3 grades counting for the final mark. But you cannot do 
a comment on a day you do a response, and you cannot do it for the last class without 
prior permission. 

Participation and three 1 page responses, worth 20% 

PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU ARE AN UNDERGRADUATE ON YOUR PAPERS 
AND RESPONSES, AS THE GRADING SYSTEM IS DIFFERENT FOR YOU. 
YOU WILL RECEIVE GRADES ON YOUR RESPONSES AS WELL AS 
COMMENTS. 


3 


15 page paper on three of the readings and a main theme of the course, DUE NOON 
December 10, worth 50%. Papers to be turned in to Aleatha Cox, Flavelle 343. 

The paper will focus on 3 of the readings, connecting them to each other and to the main 
themes of the course. Students should show how together they contribute to these themes, 
or develop a particular problem related to these themes, and use the articles to work the 
problem through, or show how the insights of these articles help us better understand a 
particular concrete case or problem. If you are using an example not drawn from the course 
material, be sure you do not spend too much space presenting the example. A maximum of 
2-3 pages. If you find you cannot present the example you have in mind within that space, 
you may use additional pages. But then you will need to add those additional pages to the 
total length of the paper, so that you still have at least 22 pages of analysis, integrating the 
example into your discussion of the texts and the key issues. A similar approach applies to 
using material outside the assigned reading. You are, of course, welcome to note other 
material that adds to your argument. But if you spending more than a few lines referring to 
that material, you should ensure that you still have the required page length devoted to the 
analysis of the texts and issues in the course. 


BY November 16, STUDENTS SHOULD SUBMIT A PARAGRAPH SUMMARY OF 
THEIR PAPER TOPIC and the texts they will focus on, or an outline of the paper 
which identifies the texts. Students may submit this summary or outline earlier, but i 
recommend that if you do so you at least skim all the materials so you will know which 
will work best for your topic. 


PAPERS MUST BE SUBMITTED VIA TURN IT IN.COM as well as in hard copy. 


COURSE SCHEDULE / TABLE OF CONTENTS 
WEEK 1 (Sept 13): 

Introduction 


WEEK 2 (Sept 201: 

1. T.N. Madan, Secularism in Its Place .1 

2. Ashis Nandy, The Politics of Secularism and the Recovery of Religious Tolerance .14 

3. Papal Address at University of Regensburg.32 

4. (Recommended, section on Pope) Anver Emon, On the Pope, Cartoons, and 

Apostates: Shari’a 2006 .41 


Group 1 comment, group 2 respond 


4 









WEEK 3 (Sept. 27): 


1. Gerard Bouchard and Charles Taylor, Report: Building the Future, A Time for 

Reconciliation .60 

2. Anver M. Emon, Islamic Law and the Canadian Mosaic Politics, Jurisprudence, and 

Multicultural Accommodation .83 

Group 2 comment, group 3 respond 

WEEK 4 (Oct 4): 

1. John Rawls, The Law of Peoples with “The Idea of Public Reason Revisited ”.118 

Group 3 comment, group 4 respond 

THANKSGIVING: Oct. 11 

WEEK 5 (Oct 18): 

1. Nicholas Wolterstorff, The Role of Religion in Decision and Discussion of Political 

Issues .145 

a. Supplementary: Robert Audi, Wolterstorff on Religion, Politics, and the 

Liberal State .172 

2. Simone Chambers, How Religion Speaks to the Agnostic: Habermas on the Persistent 

Value of Religion .185 

Group 4 comment, group 1 respond 

WEEK 6 (Oct 251: 

1. Jurgen Habermas, Religion in the Public Sphere .198 

Group 1 comment, group 2 respond 

Students are encouraged to reflect back on the previous reading and discussions. 

READING WEEK 
WEEK 7 (Nov 8): 

1. Jennifer Nedelsky, Legislative Judgment and the Enlarged Mentality: Taking 

Religious Perspectives .223 


5 















2. John Borrows, Living Law on a Living Earth: Aboriginal Religion, Law, and the 

Constitution .241 


Group 2 comment, group 3 respond 


WEEK 8 (Nov 15): 

No class for undergraduates. Please read the circulated examples. Undergraduates’ 
examples and comments (following group assignments below) can be submitted for 
this day or for December 6. 

The environment and faith based argument: 

Group 4 and 1 circulate by March 4 examples of faith based public arguments with 
respect to the environment. Electronic means would be optimal, but if you need to have 
photocopies made or scanning done, please have them available in Flavelle 343 by Friday 
February 27. 

Please add one paragraph about why you think this is a GOOD example of the use 
of faith based argument. (It’s too easy to find bad examples.) Please comment also on 
what (if anything) is added by the spiritual arguments that is not (or not as well) captured 
in purely secular language. 

Groups 2 and 3 pick two or three submissions and comment on why you think this is or is 
not a good use of faith based argument in public deliberation. You might also comment 
on the extent to which the argument uses “publicly accessible” arguments and is or is not 
characterized by “reason.” Please comment also on what (if anything) is added by the 
spiritual arguments that is not (or not as well) captured in purely secular language. 


WEEK 9 (Nov 22): 

1. Madhavi Sunder, Piercing the Veil .257 

Group 3 comment, group 4 respond 


WEEK 10 (Nov. 29): 

1. Chronology: Chamberlain v. Surrey School District No. 36.331 

2. CBC News - School board rejects books with gay parents for bad grammar.332 

3. Court Misunderstands the Meaning of “Secular”.334 

4. Court Corrects Erroneous Understanding of the Secular and Respects Parental Rights.340 

5. Chamberlain v. Surrey School District No. 36, British Columbia Supreme Court.347 

6. Chamberlain v. Surrey School District No. 36, Supreme Court of Canada.372 


6 













Group 4 comment; Students in group 1 post an example of conflicts or potential 
conflicts between “■education for citizenship” and religious concerns of parents. You 
can either summarize the conflict and post a description of it from another source. 
Add a brief commentary on why this is an example of education for citizenship. 


7