Academic Articles

Can For-Profit Corporations Be Religious?

“A key factor in discerning whether an institution, even a for-profit corporation, is religious is whether it does things that are shaped by a religious commitment. Does it do (some) things differently from other corporations? The fact that a for-profit corporation seeks to make a profit so it can continue to exist does not preclude it from integrating other guiding principles, including religiously based ones, into its ethos and operations. Many profit-making bodies commit themselves to support goals such as environmental stewardship, combatting climate change, as well as supporting charities, that might adversely affect their bottom line.”
Many examples “illustrate that even for-profit corporations can have religious duties and embody religious convictions. Accordingly, for-profit entities that are authentically shaped by religious ground-motives deserve religious freedom protections along with their non-profit, NGO, and congregational counterparts. In other words, they are due the rights and protections of institutional religious freedom”

The World Needs Clarity on Human Rights

A more theoretical piece I wrote on the report pf the State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights

 “The reaction to the report of Commission on Unalienable Rights has often been a politicized and shallow one (in our present divided political climate, obviously no surprise) but the notion of human rights is now so confused that it needs clarity….

If any notion of human rights is to be preserved, we must distinguish between politically desirable outcomes and human rights. Otherwise, rights will lose their special cachet, intrinsic importance, and ability to trump or rightfully override mundane, even if vitally important, policy choices. If governments do not make this distinction, human rights will necessarily dissolve into our usual policy fights. If everything properly desired is a human right, the notion of human rights has eroded and disappeared. A right becomes simply a desired political outcome.

I have not sought to state what is and is not a human right, but to show some of the variety and differences between what are called human rights. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights subjects rights to different limiting conditions; some are non-derogable while others are not. The International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights presents its rights as necessary goals rather than limiting conditions. The rights that stem from government restraints can be enacted by almost any functioning government, whereas there may be legitimate reasons why a government cannot fulfill other rights at a particular time.

Rather than treating the report as another salvo in our culture wars and subjecting it to America’s current culturally contingent proliferation of rights, we need to address the substantive issues it raises.

The important thing is not to get distracted by words such as hierarchy or subordination, but to realize that there are many different types of things in the family of international human rights.”

What the Coronavirus and Lockdowns Can Teach Us about Politics

“Politics is inevitably judging between not only legitimate and illegitimate demands but also between legitimate demands, which are usually much harder to dismiss. And we are often, probably usually, judging based on uncertain information, even ignorance—akin to Clausewitz’ description of military decisions necessarily made in the blindness of the “fog of war.
I could list many politicians whom I think are doing stupid things, which we should criticize…. But rest assured there is no right answer to these complex issues lying out there in some neo-Platonic universe waiting simply to be found and implemented. Politics is itself hard: it is arguing and competing and fighting over contested, often differently valued, and often underinformed, issues and policies.
But if you want to abandon the jarring messiness of politics, then Vladimir Lenin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, and Xi Jinping would be happy to suggest some alternatives.”

“Religious Freedom” in Christianity in East and Southeast Asia

I received a notice that this has been published but there will be no copies in North America for a few months and I can give more information then. It is part of a multivolume world survey of Christianity that it likely to be a standard work.

Do Government Restrictions on Larger Church Gatherings Violate Religious Freedom?

Extensively commented on in Eugene Yapp, “COVID-19 and the Right to Freedom of Religion and Belief,” SHAPE-SEA Program (Strengthening Human Rights and Peace Research and Education in ASEAN/Southeast Asia) March 30, 2020. Read Here Also published in Juicy Ecumenism. Read Here

Why Religious Freedom Must Be a Top Priority

The Disjunction of Liberal Theory and Liberal Polities

Following on the debates about “Liberalism,” (see my “Robert Kagan and the Many Meanings of Liberalism” above), I also published “The Disjunction of Liberal Theory and Liberal Polities,” stating that “the confounding of contentious liberal theories with actual concrete polities stems from the assumption that liberal democratic states are somehow the product of liberal theories.”

Rights, Institutions, and Religious Freedom: Toward Clarity in the Midst of Controversy

I am part of a research project run by the Religious Freedom Institute and funded by the Templeton Foundation which is working on the issue of institutional religious freedom—that is the freedom not only of individuals but also the right to run religiously-oriented schools, colleges, hospitals, adoption agencies and the like. I am the chair of the project’s working group that is focused on the fundamental nature of religious freedom.

Robert Kagan and the Many Meanings of Liberalism

In this article, I want to address how Westerners, especially Americans, including Christians, are currently addressing politics. The level of discourse is now quite abysmal (much worse than even two decades ago). One major problem for many is that politics is reduced to a simplistic binary—liberal/non liberal—while Christians often lack any theory of the task of government.

*Western Christians’ Responses to Denials of Religious Freedom

Conflicts in Indonesian Islam

The Ambiguities of Religious Freedom in Indonesia

Saudi Influence and Islamic Radicalism in Indonesia

There were various commentaries on this article, for example read here.

This is a listing of most of my more academic writings, journal articles, book chapters and so forth. The boundary line between scholarly and popular articles is not a sharp one, so these range from articles in refereed journals to writings in periodicals such as First Things that have subsequently appeared in books. Articles that have appeared in refereed publications are marked with an asterisk *.

Western Christians’ response to Denials of Religious Freedom

*Patterns and Purposes of Contemporary Anti-Christian Persecution

Politics and Democracy

The book is for the 100th anniversary of the Maluku church.

Conceptual Issues in Religious Freedom Research

The Travails of Evangelical Politics

Possible Dimensions of Religious Freedom

*Misunderstanding Al Qaeda

The Current State of Religious Freedom

The Nature of Religious Freedom

A Checklist of Religious Freedom

“Religious Freedom” & “Persecution and Martyrdom”

The Significance of Religious Freedom

Living with Islamism

Jim Wallis’ Politics—Or Lack Thereof


Understanding Radical Islam

The Islamists’ Other Weapon

Perseguição Religiosa No Mundo

Persecution of Christians 4.3

Human Rights

Patterns and Contexts of Religious Freedom and Persecution

An Islamic Counter-Reformation?

Religious Freedom and the Role of NGOs

Religious Freedom

Religious Freedom and the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Keeping the Faith: Religion, Freedom and International Affairs

Present Day Persecution of Christians

China’s Persecuted Churches

With Nina Shea.

Human Rights and Religious Toleration

Disregarding Religion

Current Persecution of Christians

“Nationalism”; “Power”; “Politics”; “Civil Disobedience”

Religious Toleration and Human Rights

Their Blood Cries Out

*Liberalism, Pluralism and Education

On the Universality of Human Rights

Rights Talk and Welfare Policy

“Rights”; “Work”; “Power”; “Theonomy”; “Real Politik”; “Theocracy”; “Grotius”; “Tyrannicide,”

The Importance of Group Rights

*Quentin Skinner and the Secularization of Political Thought

*Does the Creation Have Rights?

*Two Types of Rights

Moral Imperatives of Economic Life

Religion and Canadian Culture

With John Stackhouse.

Toward a Christian View of State and Economy

*Innate Rights and Just Relations

*Rethinking Christianity and Culture

Substance and Method in Max Weber’s Protestant Ethic

Is There a Calvinist Political Theory?

*Justice and Rights: Ideology and Human Rights Theories

*Liberalism, Pluralism and Christianity: A Reconceptualization

Politics not Ethics: A Christian View of the State

Some Political Implications of the Abortion Decision

Anglo‑Canadian Perspectives on the United States Constitution

*Dooyeweerd’s Empirical Theory of Rights

Is Technology Out of Control?

The Basis of Human Rights in Canada

*Mathematics and Politics

*Some Recent Conceptions of Operationalism and Operationalizing

Exporting Blasphemy Restrictions: The Organization of the Islamic Conference and the United Nations

Calling, Work and Rest

This article was selected by Christianity Today in the “Ethics” category of the best theological articles in 1987.

The Shape of the Modern Work Ethic

John Locke: Between God and Mammon

In The Media

Name of Video
Paul Marshall
Name of Video
Paul Marshall
Name of Video
Paul Marshall