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Virtually everyone supports religious liberty, and virtually everyone opposes discrimination. But how do we handle the hard questions that arise when exercises of religious liberty seem to discriminate unjustly? How do we promote the common good while respecting conscience in a diverse society?
This point-counterpoint book brings together leading voices in the culture wars to debate such questions: John Corvino, a longtime LGBT-rights advocate, opposite Ryan T. Anderson and Sherif Girgis, prominent young social conservatives.
Many such questions have arisen in response to same-sex marriage: How should we treat county clerks who do not wish to authorize such marriages, for example; or bakers, florists, and photographers who do not wish to provide same-sex wedding services? But the conflicts extend well beyond the LGBT rights arena. How should we treat hospitals, schools, and adoption agencies that can't in conscience follow antidiscrimination laws, healthcare mandates, and other regulations? Should corporations ever get exemptions? Should public officials?
Should we keep controversial laws like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or pass new ones like the First Amendment Defense Act? Should the law give religion and conscience special protection at all, and if so, why? What counts as discrimination, and when is it unjust? What kinds of material and dignitary harms should the law try to fight-and what is dignitary harm, anyway?
Beyond the law, how should we treat religious beliefs and practices we find mistaken or even oppressive? Should we tolerate them or actively discourage them?
In point-counterpoint format, Corvino, Anderson and Girgis explore these questions and more. Although their differences run deep, they tackle them with civility, clarity, and flair. Their debate is an essential contribution to contemporary discussions about why religious liberty matters and what respecting it requires.
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John Corvino, Ph.D. is Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. He is the co-author (with Maggie Gallagher) of Debating Same-Sex Marriage (June 2012) and the author of What's Wrong with Homosexuality? (January 2013), both from Oxford University Press.
Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., is William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. He is author of Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom (Regnery, 2015), co-author of What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense (Encounter, 2012) and co-editor of A Liberalism Safe for Catholicism (University of Notre Dame Press, 2017).
Sherif Girgis, J.D., is a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at Princeton and lead author (with Ryan T. Anderson and Robert P. George) of What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense (Encounter Books, 2012). He earned a law degree from Yale and a B.Phil. (M.Phil.) in philosophy from Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.
"Overall, this book is a thought-provoking endeavour, and it is commendable that the authors have tried to challenge one another and to find areas of agreement. Their willingness to reach out and engage in reasoned debate is valuable in and of itself." -- Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
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