Upcoming Book Launches: June 4 & 13

Please join us for two exciting book launches in Oxford this June.

Hordern Cover

Political Affections: Civic Participation & Moral Theology

by Joshua Hordern

June 4, 1.15pm, Philosophy Room, Radcliffe Humanities Building

Free lunch provided; RSVP politicalaffections@gmail.com

View launch invitation or book flyer offering a 20% discount

Clarke CoverReligion, Intolerance, and Conflict

with a critical commentary by John Perry & Nigel Biggar

June 13, 6.45pm, New Ryle Room, Radcliffe Humanities Bldg

Wine and refreshments; remarks by Nigel Biggar

RSVP rachel.gaminiratne@philosophy.ox.ac.uk

Making Medical Killing Legal

Earlier this month, Lord Falconer’s Commission for Assisted Dying released a 400-page report advocating the legalization of assisted suicide in a narrow range of situations.  The report was commissioned by the campaign group Dignity in Dying. It describes the current law on assisted dying as “inadequate and incoherent” and offers a legal framework that would permit only those who had been diagnosed with less than a year to live to seek an assisted suicide, and then only if they met strict eligibility criteria. In the latest Parliamentary Brief, John Perry defends the law as it currently stands. He concludes:

The present system preserves both the integrity of the medical profession and the general prohibition of killing, but at the same time makes room for rare exceptions via the prosecutor’s discretion. That’s messy, imperfect—and probably just about right.

The Falconer Report was funded by the author Terry Pratchett. In the latest issue of Triple Helix, Dr Richard Hain offers this thoughtful review of Pratchett’s much-discussed BBC documentary, Choosing to Die.

New Book: Perry’s Pretenses of Loyalty

John Perry’s book, The Pretenses of Loyalty, was published this summer by Oxford University Press. It is now available from Amazon USA and Amazon UK.

The book was recently featured by the journal Political Theology.


“This elegant and tightly-reasoned tract offers a striking new reading of John Locke’s theories of church and state, religion and politics, conscience and command. Though Locke is often seen solely as a secular prophet of modern liberalism, Perry shows that he is also a subtle political theologian who saw the need to harmonize our spiritual and temporal loyalties in public and private life. If Perry is right on Locke, our conventional constitutional histories and political theories will need ample revision, and Perry shows us the way.”—John Witte, Center for the Study of Law & Religion, Emory University

“Have you ever wondered whether it’s possible for a liberal democratic state to accommodate all the diverse loyalties of its citizens, especially all their diverse religious  Continue reading

What’s Wrong, and Right, with Mixing Religion & Politics?

The University of Oxford will hold an Open Day next week. Colleges and departments will offer presentations and Taster Lectures for prospective students and their parents, helping them learn what living and studying at the University is like.

The Theology Faculty’s lectures will include John Perry, speaking on What’s Wrong, and Right, with Mixing Religion and Politics? at 11.30 on 16 September 2011. Diarmaid MacCulloch will also speak on the topic of church history.

For full details, or to register, click here.

Archbishop Rowan Williams & John Perry Speak on Faith and Society

Photo: K.T. Bruce

Earlier this month, John Perry joined Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, to speak to sixth-form students at the Madjeski Academy in Reading. Speaking on the topic of Faith in the Public Square, Perry addressed the importance of society welcoming political arguments from religious perspectives, and the habits of patient listening that are required if this is to contribute to the common good, rather than lead to hostile disagreements.

Photo: K.T. Bruce

The Archbishop spoke on Faith and Education, using the novels of Marilyn Robinson (Gilead and Home) to show the connection between literary imagination, education, and religion. After a Q&A session, the students presented poster exhibits from their Religious Studies classes, depicting major theologians that they had studied, such as Barth and Bonhoeffer, as well as ethical debates they studied, like euthanasia. A partial audio recording is available from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s official site.

Mixing Religion & Politics

Parliamentary BriefIn the new May issue of Parliamentary Brief, John Perry reflects on what’s right, and wrong, with the ‘secular agenda’. Perry describes the three most common objections to using religious arguments in public, and shows them to be misplaced. Read the full article.

Parliamentary Brief is a monthly magazine published chiefly for members of the House of Commons, House of Lords, senior civil servants, and political journalists. It provides in-depth analysis on a range of domestic and international issues.

Two Minnesota Films on Abortion

We have just passed January 22, the date Americans remember as the outbreak of hostilities in the longest-running battle of their culture wars. It was on this day that the Roe v Wade decision legalized abortion. Having taught medical ethics at both Oxford and Notre Dame, I no longer expect to hear arguments on abortion that surprise me. But occasionally I do and my immediate response is always to ask myself what my students would say. Would my students be persuaded or would they shoot it down without even breaking a mental sweat?

This was my reaction to the 2007 film, Juno, and it was my reaction to a three-minute video posted on the Internet by John Piper entitled “No, Mr President.” Continue reading