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New Book On Religious Liberty Can Pivot Public Discourse Back in Right Direction

By  |  September 27, 2017, 03:00pm  |  @Gabby_Hoffman


The debate over cultural issues sadly isn’t going anywhere in this country. Whether it’s public schools pushing for the normalization of transgenderism or the media cheering on the prospect of imprisoning those who disagree with gay marriage, public discourse on the matter has been lost.

If you dissent from the “popular opinion” of the day, your view is to be wholly condemned and subsequent shaming of your views will ensue. We’ve reached a boiling point where we must accept everything, rather than offer peaceful and respectful disagreement through tolerance–or face punishment. A new book on religious liberty by three of the most prominent Millennial-aged scholars on the marriage debate — two for the preservation of the institution, the other in favor of redefinition–have a new book that can help pivot civil discourse in the right direction.

I recently finished Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination by John Corvino, Ryan T. Anderson, and Sherif Girgis. Corvino is a proponent of gay marriage and previously co-authored a book Debating Same-Sex Marriage with Maggie Gallagher. He holds a Ph.D., teaches at, and chairs the Philosophy Department at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Anderson and Girgis are well known in conservative circles, with the former serving as the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow in American Principles & Public Policy at Heritage Foundation and the latter a PhD candidate in philosophy at Princeton University. They co-authored What Is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defense with Princeton University Professor Robbie George in December 2012.

What I found was how sound and convincing each argument presented in the point-counterpoint format was throughout the book–offering solid points and arguments for both views surrounding the debate over religious liberty and discrimination. Corvino articulated the leftist view on religious liberty quite well and offered sound arguments for his position–even though I vehemently disagreed with his assessment. Alternatively, Anderson and Girgis articulated the conservative position on these issues in the typical intellectual way they normally do–affirming why they are two of the leading voices on social conservatism today.

If you want a book that promotes open-mindedness and offers a fair account of the religious liberty issue, this book will help vill that void.

Most of our readers, myself included, believe in religious liberty and that certain protections should apply to those who don’t want to violate their conscience, with respect to soliciting services or products for religious ceremonies. Conservatives and libertarians also believe private companies have the right to refuse service or terminate employment — even if it’s unfair or politically motivated. But we should hear out our opponents if they can civilly articulate their perspectives on the issues. More speech, not less.

So much of public discourse has been lost and muddled by those who disregard free speech and the free exchange of ideas in the public square. Debating Religious Liberty will help renew your faith in the art of debate and exchange of ideas with respect to cultural issues. Check it out.