Francis Beckwith on Taking Rites Seriously
Date: April 17th, 2016

Are religious individuals and arguments disadvantaged by certain intellectual arguments in our legal system?  Prof. Francis Beckwith, a professor of Philosophy & Church-State Studies at Baylor University, argues that “secular rationalism” has arisen in intellectual circles as a means of dismissing the argumentation of religious individuals on a variety of social and legal issues.  He explains the concept of “secular rationalism,” why scholars adhering to it tend to dismiss religious reasoning (as not being “reason” at all), and then critiques it as being epistemically suspect, not to mention that it begs several substantive questions.  We then explore how a preference for secular rationalism in the legal system affects religious freedom.  We review a number of cases where this manifests itself, including cases involving abortion and contraception (Webster v Reproductive Health Services, Burwell v Hobby Lobby), the Pledge of Allegiance (Newdow v Elk Grove School District), intelligent design and evolution (Kitzmiller v Dover, Edwards v Aguillard), and cases involving Sikh religious rights.  Frank talks about how his views of intelligent design and the rhetoric surround it have evolved (yes, that is a play on words), and where he thinks our culture is heading with respect to religious rights in the U.S. legal system.  Recorded: April 12, 2016.



Francis Beckwith’s bio and personal website at Baylor University.

Taking Rites Seriously: Law, Politics, and the Reasonableness of Faith, by Francis Beckwith.

A Second Look at First Things: A Case for Conservative Politics: The Hadley Arkes Festschrift, edited by Francis Beckwith, Robert P. George, and Susan McWilliams.

Politics for Christians: Statecraft as Soulcraft, by Francis Beckwith.

Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic, by Francis Beckwith.


Matthew Franck on Hobby Lobby and Religious Freedom Jurisprudence.

John Inazu on the Four Freedoms, Religious Liberty, and Assembly.

David Cortman on Religious Liberty Updates.

Robert P. George on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Matthew Franck on Hosanna-Tabor and Ministerial Exemptions.

Phillip Muñoz on Catholic Bishops, Religious Liberty, and Health Care Mandates.

Hunter Baker on Secularism.

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