New Book! – Taking Rites Seriously



Taking Rites Seriously: Law, Politics and the Reasonableness of Faith (Cambridge University Press, 2015)

Winner of the American Academy of Religion’s 2016 Book Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in the category of Constructive-Reflective Studies.

Praise for Taking Rites Seriously:

“In Taking Rites Seriously Francis Beckwith clears away many of the misunderstandings of religion that have marred discussions of faith and public life and corrupted the constitutional law of church and state. Of course, there are some academics and activists who are so deeply in the grip of secularist ideology that they have no desire to learn. Most Americans, however, whether they are believers or secularists, would like to be better informed about religion. For them, this book is a gift.” – Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University.

“Sophisticated, learned, and committed, Francis Beckwith argues coolly for a reasoned faith even as he smites the philistines hip and thigh on behalf of human dignity and life.” – Lenn E. Goodman, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities, Vanderbilt University

“Given the growing pressure on religious freedom, it is important for Christians to understand how the law works, both institutionally and culturally. These connected essays by Frank Beckwith are superb.” – Carl Trueman, Paul Woolley Professor in Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.

“[W]ritten with admirable clarity, and amply demonstrating the compatibility—indeed the happy and mutually fulfilling companionship—of faith and reason, even and especially in matters of public life.”  – Matthew Franck, Director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution, The Witherspoon Institute. 

“Beckwith’s legal perspective and clarity make this short survey of the role of religious reasoning in American jurisprudence a valuable contribution to the defense of religion’s place in public life.” – Elliot Milco, First Things

From the publisher, Cambridge University Press:

“Taking Rites Seriously is about how religious beliefs and religious believers are assessed by judges and legal scholars and are sometimes mischaracterized and misunderstood by those who are critical of the influence of religion in politics or in the formation of law. Covering three general topics – reason and motive, dignity and personhood, nature and sex – philosopher and legal theorist Francis J. Beckwith carefully addresses several contentious legal and cultural questions over which religious and non-religious citizens often disagree: the rationality of religious belief, religiously motivated legislation, human dignity in bioethics, abortion and embryonic stem cell research, reproductive rights and religious liberty, evolutionary theory, and the nature of marriage. In the process, he responds to some well-known critics of public faith – including Brian Leiter, Steven Pinker, Suzanna Sherry, Ronald Dworkin, John Rawls, and Richard Dawkins – as well as to some religiously conservative critics of secularism such as the advocates for intelligent design.”

Front Matter including Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Faith Seeking Understanding

Purchase Taking Rites Seriously at, or Cambridge University Press