Politics and Religion

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A Thomas More Institute Manchester Symposium

Faith and Freedom: Religious Belief and the Political Process


Held on Saturday 12 May 2012 at ReachOut! Centre, 6 Oxford Place, Manchester M14 5RS, by kind permission of the Director.

Two papers were delivered (in a programme revised from that earlier advertised):


Prof. William Wagner - 'Conscience' as an aspect of 'Religion' Under the Religion Clauses of the United States' Constitution: The Current State of the Question

Prof. William Wagner is professor of law and director of the Program of Studies in Jurisprudence at the Columbus School of Law, The Catholic University of America, where he is also Faculty Editor of the Journal of Law, Philosophy and Culture. He has a J.D. from Yale University Law School, and a Ph.D. in Moral Theology from The Catholic University of America. He has taught, published widely, and organised leading conferences in jurisprudence, law and religion, and constitutional law. He has most recently published on ‘The Changing Meaning of Tolerance in American Constitutional Law’ (2011). A member of the editorial boards of the American Journal of Jurisprudenceand the American Journal of Comparative Law, he has been Fulbright Research Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for Public International and Comparative Law, Heidelberg, and Visiting Research Professor at the Faculty of Law and Center for Religion and Society, Bonn. Currently he is a visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge.

Transcript coming soon.


Archbishop Vincent Nichols - 'Faith in God is not a problem to be solved, but a vital part of the national conversation’ (Benedict XVI)

The Most Rev. Vincent Nichols has been Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Roman Catholic Bishop's Conference for England and Wales since 2009.

The following is the transcript of a lecture given by the Archbishop at the Thomas More Institute on 7 December 2011.


The Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali - Britain on the Brink: What has Christian Faith to Do with Essential Values?

The Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali had his early education in Pakistan where he has a family background that is both Christian and Muslim. He holds British and Pakistani citizenships. His university education was received at Karachi, Cambridge and Oxford, and he has taught theology at university level in both countries. In Pakistan he served as an Anglican parish priest, as Provost of Lahore Cathedral, and as first Bishop of Raiwind. From 1994 until his resignation in 1999 he was Bishop of Rochester, the first non-white diocesan bishop in the Church of England. He has published widely and spoken often on themes related to faith and public policy, and he has been untiring in pointing out the importance of the Judaeo-Christian tradition to the future of the West. He is besides a poet in both English and Persian.

The following is the transcript of a seminar paper given by the Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir Ali at the Thomas More Institute on 6 April 2011

Professor Brenda Almond - The Right to Disagree: Challenging the New Orthodoxy About the Family

Professor Brenda Almond is Emeritus Professor of Moral and Social Philosophy at the University of Hull. She holds an honorary doctorate for her work in philosophy from Utrecht University and is an elected foreign member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

The following paper was given by Professor Almond at the Thomas More Institute on 26 January 2011

Fiona Scolding - Religion and Equality: Incompatible Concepts?

Fiona Scolding is a barrister at Hardwicke Building in London who practises in the area of education and human rights work. She has been involved in a number of cases about the interrelationship of faith and equality, especially in the educational context.

The following seminar was given by Fiona Scolding on religion and equality at the Thomas More Institute on 15 December 2010

Dr. Robin Harris – Croatia since Communism: Values, Structures, Prospects

Dr. Robin Harris, C.B.E., is a former adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He is now a free lance journalist and policy analyst, consultant director of Politeia (London) and Visiting Fellow of the Heritage Foundation (Washington, D.C.). He is also the author of Dubrovnik - A History, and was awarded the Order of the Croatian Morning Star for cultural services by the President of Croatia in 2008.

Seminar held on 26 May 2010


Roy Schoeman - Common and Disparate Elements in the Ethics of Judaism, Christianity and Islam

Mr Schoeman is a Jewish convert to Catholicism who writes and speaks on religious topics
Seminar held on 17 June 2009

David Quinn - Religion in Europe and the New Moral Absolutism

David Quinn is the founder and director of the Iona Institute, Ireland.
Seminar held in Glasgow
Thursday 26 March 2009

Please note the following text is an outline of the paper presented at the seminar.

Religious believers are often accused of seeking to impose their morality upon others and of not respecting the separation of Church and State. They are told to keep their beliefs to themselves and to stay out of the public arena.

Prof. Roger Trigg - Religious Freedom

Professor Roger Trigg is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick
Seminar on Wednesday 24 September 2008   
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