Part of the Palgrave Frontiers in Philosophy of Religion series
Each book in the series aims to progress a debate in the philosophy of religion by (i) offering a novel argument to establish a strikingly original thesis, or (ii) approaching an ongoing dispute from a radically new point of view. Each title in the series contributes to this aim by utilising recent developments in empirical sciences or cutting-edge research in foundational areas of philosophy (such as metaphysics, epistemology and ethics).
Written for scholars of law and religion, my book addresses one of the most urgent issues in contemporary American law—namely, the logic and limits of corporate religious liberty.
Pointing to the polarization that surrounds religious freedom disputes like Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2014), I argue that such cases need not involve pitting flesh-and-blood individuals (e.g., customers or employees) against the rights of so-called “corporate moral persons” (e.g., business firms).
Instead, I propose that such disputes should be resolved by attending to the moral quality of group actions. This approach shifts attention away from polarizing rights-talk and towards the virtues required for thriving civic communities.
More radically, however, this approach suggests that groups themselves should not be viewed as things or “persons” in the first instance, but rather as occasions of coordinated activity. Discerned in the writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas, this reconceptualization helps illuminate the moral stakes of a novel—and controversial—form of religious freedom.
Defending a Thomistic ontology of modest group realism, David articulates an inclusive vision of religious liberty—one that encompasses both distinctively religious activities and religiously motivated secular enterprises. This approach advances the conversation around corporate religious liberty, contributing to a Christian renewal of the temporal order.
Robert J. Matava, Associate Professor and Dean of the Graduate School, Christendom College, USA
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Chapter 1 highlights the moral stakes of corporate religious liberty (CRL).
Chapter 2 learns from, and evaluates, Catholic and Protestant teachings on CRL.
Chapter 3 critiques how group ontology is used to restrict CRL to voluntary associations.
Chapter 4 offers an approach to CRL that protects a wider array of associations.
Chapter 5 responds to political liberal and theological contentions to my approach.
Chapter 6 considers how to protect the Church’s supernatural personality.
Chapter 7 discusses the importance of virtue for navigating CRL claims.
Faculty of Theology and Religion
University of Oxford
Oxford, OX2 6GG, United Kingdom