Georgetown backdrop

Law, Religion, and Values

Leader: Michael Kessler

From 2006 to 2015 the Law, Religion, and Values project supported teaching, research, and scholarly conferences that explored how religion and values legitimate, shape, and conflict with global political, cultural, and legal systems in transnational and comparative perspective.

The field of law and religion has become well-established over the past 40 years, focusing largely on domestic issues of U.S. constitutional law related to free exercise, establishment, and, more recently, accommodation of diverse religious practices and international religious freedom. Yet fundamental theoretical questions persist. Increasing pluralism raises questions about the way that political and legal systems are legitimated. A variety of oft-conflicting perspectives inform our understanding of moral and political ideas of justice and right. Moral and religious values shape individual actions and institutional policy, but without a common horizon of shared tradition or meaning, they create tensions and policy disputes that redound to the most fundamental moral conflicts. And the increasingly globalized reality has radically reshaped the horizon of legal study and practice. Legal conflicts and remedies increasingly occur across borders, with many different participants, from individuals and governments to corporations and transnational NGOs. These factors, among others, have reshaped the issues confronting the field of law and religion, requiring sustained engagement with ethics, political theory, and theories of globalization.

The Law, Religion, and Values project explored how religion and values ground, shape, and conflict with global political, cultural, and legal systems in transnational and comparative perspective. Activities included:

  • Supporting interdisciplinary scholarship and dialogue on the domestic and transnational-comparative intersections of law, religion, and values.
  • Creating multiple learning opportunities for Georgetown students from across the campuses to engage with the complexities of the global intersection of law, religion, and values, including the Law and Religion Seminar enrolling both Main Campus and Georgetown Law students.
  • Elevating public discourse about these issues through events, publications, and knowledge resources aimed at the general public, academic discourses, and government/policy professionals.
Stone Statue of Lady Justice with Scales and Sword

Project Leader

Michael Kessler headshot

Michael Kessler

Executive Director
Department of Government and Georgetown Law



{{ item.media_date }}

{{ }} video

Duration: {{ item.duration }}

Opens in a new window