Martha Nussbaum’s New Book.


Martha Nussbaum discussing her new book – Liberty of Conscience: In Defense of America’s Tradition of Religious Equality – with Bill Moyers here.

Here’s some information about the book from Powells website:

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In one of the great triumphs of the colonial and Revolutionary periods, the founders of the future United States overcame religious intolerance in favor of a constitutional order dedicated to fair treatment for people’s deeply held conscientious beliefs. It granted equal liberty of conscience to all and took a firm stand against religious establishment. This respect for religious difference, acclaimed scholar Martha Nussbaum writes, formed our democracy. Yet today there are signs that this legacy is misunderstood. The prominence of a particular type of Christianity in our public life suggests the unequal worth of citizens who hold different religious beliefs, or no beliefs. Other people, meanwhile, seek to curtail the influence of religion in public life in a way that is itself unbalanced and unfair. Such partisan efforts, Nussbaum argues, violate the spirit of our Constitution. Liberty of Conscience is a historical and conceptual study of the American tradition of religious freedom. Weaving together political history, philosophical ideas, and key constitutional cases, this is a rich chronicle of an ideal of equality that has always been central to our history but is now in serious danger.

Review:

“In this engrossing history of the religion clauses of the First Amendment, Nussbaum (Cultivating Humanity) makes a strong, thoroughgoing case for America as a haven of religious liberty for believers of all stripes. Beginning with an illuminating rehabilitation of Rhode Island founder Roger Williams as America’s earliest defender of religious equality, Nussbaum continues by examining how Williams’s ideals have been both upheld and abandoned throughout the nation’s history. After detailing the adoption of the establishment and free exercise clauses, Nussbaum comments at length on how these fairly general, vague clauses have been fleshed out by more than two centuries of case law. Refreshingly, Nussbaum does not add to the acrimonious cacophony around the idea of separation of church and state. Rather than pushing for strict separation, she argues for what philosopher John Rawls calls ‘overlapping consensus,’ which echoes Williams’s belief that citizens who differ greatly on matters of ultimate meaning can still agree to respect each other’s liberty of conscience. Nussbaum writes engagingly and with generosity; her critiques, particularly those of opinions written by Justices Scalia and Thomas, are pointed but respectful, and she demonstrates warm regard for Supreme Court plaintiffs who have braved persecution as they have followed the dictates of conscience.” Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

Since even before it was a nation, America had to address the ongoing struggle between religious fervor and religious freedom. But the Founders of the future United States overcame religious intolerance and hatred in favor of a constitutional order dedicated to fair treatment for people’s deeply held conscientious beliefs: Liberty of conscience became a right. This respect for religious difference formed the bedrock of our nation: it made equality possible. Yet today there are signs that this legacy is misunderstood. The prominence of a particular type of Christianity in our public life suggests the unequal worth of citizens who hold different religious beliefs, and our political and legal traditions are invoked to defend the idea that this widespread Christianity is what defines us as a nation. Yet nothing, Nussbaum insists, could be further from the Founding Fathers’ objectives. Liberty of Conscience is an historical and conceptual study of the great tradition of religious freedom at the heart of the American system. Weaving together political history, philosophical ideas, and key constitutional cases, this is a rich chronicle of an idea that has always been a necessary condition for freedom and equality, but is now in serious danger.

1 thought on “Martha Nussbaum’s New Book.

  1. Pingback: Martha Nussbaum Will Publish More Books Than You. « Perverse Egalitarianism

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