Professor Thomas Publishes Chapter in New Book on Religious Freedom

Professor Thomas recently published a chapter titled "Microclimates of Religious Freedom" in a volume edited by Penn professors Heather J. Sharkey and Jeffrey Edward Green. The book, The Changing Terrain of Religious Freedom, emerged out of a year-long series of events hosted by Penn's Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy. Here is a description from the publisher's website:

The Changing Terrain of Religious Freedom offers theoretical, historical, and legal perspectives on religious freedom, while examining its meaning as an experience, value, and right. The volume starts from the premise that the terrain of religious freedom has never been easy and smooth. Across societies and throughout history, defending or contesting principles of religious freedom has required compromise among multiple interests, balancing values, and wrangling with the law.

Drawing on examples from the United States and around the world, and approaching the subject from the disciplines of history, law, sociology, philosophy, religious studies, and political science, the essays in this volume illustrate these challenges. They sketch the contours of contemporary debates while showing how the landscape of religious freedom has shifted over time. They consider various stakeholders that have asserted competing claims, among them individuals and groups; members of minority and majority communities; states and corporations (including both religious organizations and businesses); and believers and non-believers. Taken together, the studies in this volume suggest that understanding religious freedom means grappling with conflicting and perhaps irreconcilable claims about whose rights should prevail over others, what religion is or may be, and how religion should relate to other cultural values.