A Culture of Engagement

Law, Religion, and Morality

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Cathleen Kaveny
Moral Traditions
  • Washington, DC: 
    Georgetown University Press
    , February
     2016.
     320 pages.
     $32.95.
     Paperback.
    ISBN
    9781626163027.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Simeon O. Ilesanmi forthcoming.

Description

Religious traditions in the United States are characterized by ongoing tension between assimilation to the broader culture, as typified by mainline Protestant churches, and defiant rejection of cultural incursions, as witnessed by more sectarian movements such as Mormonism and Hassidism. However, legal theorist and Catholic theologian Cathleen Kaveny contends there is a third possibility—a culture of engagement—that accommodates and respects tradition. It also recognizes the need to interact with culture to remain relevant and to offer critiques of social, political, legal, and economic practices. 

Kaveny suggests that rather than avoid the crisscross of the religious and secular spheres of life, we should use this conflict as an opportunity to come together and to encounter, challenge, contribute to, and correct one another. Focusing on five broad areas of interest—Law as a Teacher, Religious Liberty and Its Limits, Conversations about Culture, Conversations about Belief, and Cases and Controversies—Kaveny demonstrates how thoughtful and purposeful engagement can contribute to rich, constructive, and difficult discussions between moral and cultural traditions.

This provocative collection of Kaveny's articles from Commonweal magazine, substantially revised and updated from their initial publication, provides astonishing insight into a range of hot-button issues like abortion, assisted suicide, government-sponsored torture, contraception, the Ashley Treatment, capital punishment, and the role of religious faith in a pluralistic society. At turns masterful and inspirational, A Culture of Engagement is a welcome reminder of what can be gained when a diversity of experiences and beliefs is brought to bear on American public life.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Cathleen Kaveny is Darald and Juliet Libby Professor at Boston College, a position that includes appointments in both the department of theology and the law school. She is the author of Law's Virtues: Fostering Autonomy and Solidarity in American Society (GUP, 2012). The author of many columns and articles for Newsweek, the Washington Post, Commonweal, and other publications, she appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in 2012.

Add New Comment

Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.

Log in to post comments