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Constitutional Studies visiting fellow discusses threats to religious freedom

first_imgDaniel Mark, visiting fellow with the Constitutional Studies Program, called for a defense of religious freedom in the face of global and national threats during a lecture Thursday.“We have before us the underlying question of whether people have the right to choose and live their faith free of interference by the government or whether the limits of religious freedom are determined solely by judgements of prudence such as whether encroachments on religious freedom will detract from a state’s international standing,” he said. “In other words, we have the question of whether people have a right to religious freedom in principle or only in practice when it suits the state.” Ann Curtis | The Observer Visiting fellow Daniel Mark presents a lecture Thursday in Jenkins-Nanovic Hall on modern threats to religious freedom around the globe and domestically from both the left and right sides of the aisle.Mark said he sees a “landscape that is deeply worrisome” when looking at religious freedom today and that he believes religious freedom is a right granted by God.On a global scale, Mark said totalitarianism, both religious and secular, threatens religious freedom. Mark cited Saudi Arabia and Iran as examples of this totalitarianism.“What critical to remember about those places is that the problem isn’t just religious freedom for minorities; it’s religious freedom for everyone,” he said. “ … [No one] is free to dissent or change or deny … The theocratic ways of these countries deprive the entire population, not just minorities, of religious freedom.”To have religious freedom, Mark said everyone must have the freedom to choose which religion to follow.“Religious totalitarianism ultimately aims to control the entire person, even down to one’s thoughts,” he said.Mark said the other global totalitarian threat, secular totalitarianism, “fears the true God” rather than “false gods.”In secular totalitarianism, Mark said, countries such as China suppress religion in the name of security.“In these countries, through elaborate systems of registration and approvals, the governments regulate and monitor all religious activities,” he said.In the U.S., Mark said, we must be grateful for our religious freedom and be vigilant in defending it.“We’re not inherently better or more deserving of religious freedom than anyone else in the world, and we should not take our good fortune for granted,” he said. “Rather, we must work hard to preserve the cultural and political and legal conditions that make religious freedom possible … We should neither exaggerate our problems here and forget how good we have it, nor should we exaggerate our blessings and neglect our defense of religious freedom.”Mark said the threats to religious freedom in the U.S. from the left are “more obvious and better known.”As an example of one recent trend, Mark noted that the fastest growing religious group in America is the “Nones,” or the people who do not identify with any religion on surveys.“My concern about this trend is that people who do not value religion are unlikely to value religious freedom,” he said.Mark said the underlying idea of many actions on the left “rejects anything that stands in the way of radical personal autonomy, not only to choose unrestrained what we do but even what we are.”“Having abandoned the proper grounds for human rights in order to make room for the ever-expanding list of demands, they’ve left the concept of rights so thin and so watered down that the very idea is in danger,” he said.In the U.S. on the right, Mark said there are two threats to classical liberalism, otherwise known as modern-day American conservatism. One of these is the alt-right, which Mark said represents a form of “identity politics that rejects the inherent dignity and equality of all human beings.” The other, Mark said, is a group of critics within the conservative movement that rejects classical liberalism and believes American democracy is “fatally flawed and bound to fail.”While he said the ideas of classical liberalism must be balanced with other values, Mark said individual rights are still important.“Is [classical liberalism critics’] goal to build a newer, better, likely smaller Christendom, or is their goal to create just enough space to build a Christian culture within a classical liberal world?” he said.Mark said he believes virtue and religion are necessary in today’s world. Citing a difference between liberty (“the freedom to pursue the good”) and license (“the freedom to do whatever you want”), Mark said the right to religious freedom must be grounded in the good of religion.“Once we know what is truly good for our nature, what is truly part of human flourishing, then we can know which rights are real and which aren’t,” he said. “ … Religious freedom is essential to the good of religion because in order to be genuine it must be freely chosen. The rights protect the goods.”Tags: classical liberalism, Constitutional Studies Program, religious freedom, totalitarianismlast_img read more

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Dragados’ Aberdeen Update: Half of Caissons Placed in South Harbor

first_imgImage source: DragadosThe Aberdeen Harbor Expansion Project has reached another important landmark, with the placement of the 11th caisson at Nigg Bay, out of a total of 22. This 7,000-tonnes caisson, which bears the name Catrina, is part of Aberdeen South Harbor’s Dunnottar Quay.“It has been towed on site on a two-day journey from the Cromarty Firth. Once this floating structure was correctly positioned, its empty chambers were filled with water in order to sink it into its permanent position,” Dragados SA UK & Ireland, the principal contractor for the Aberdeen Harbor Expansion Project, said in its latest announcement.The final caissons will soon be transported from La Coruna in Spain to Scotland, where they will be floated into position as needed.Construction on Aberdeen Harbor Board’s £350 million South Harbor is now progressing according to schedule. This follows six years of unprecedented public engagement by the Board and Executive Team across the widest range of stakeholders.The pre-construction feasibility study also included a large-scale Environmental Impact Assessment, an integrated investigation into funding streams, and the creation of a Development Framework, which considered the opportunities presented by the potential investment in the new harbor for the wider Nigg, East Tullos and Altens area.Three high level planning applications were also secured: a Harbor Revision Order from Transport Scotland, Marine Licenses from Marine Scotland and for Planning Permission in Principle from Aberdeen City Council.Image source: Dragadoslast_img read more

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Roundup

first_imgThe following incidents were reported in the USC Dept. of Public Safety incident report summary between Thursday, Sept. 6 and Friday, Sept. 7. Crimes against propertyat 6:47 p.m. on Sept. 6, DPS officers responded to a report of a suspect attempting to extort money from a student at Parking Structure B in exchange for the return of her stolen phone. The officers detained the suspect for questioning and during their investigation determined that the student had offered money for the return of her phone. The phone was returned to the student and the suspect was released because of insufficient evidence of a crime having occurred.Miscellaneous incidentsat 1:35 A.m. on Sept. 7, DPS officers responded to an intoxicated student who passed out in a parking lot at Cardinal Gardens. The student was incoherent when contacted by the officers, so an LAFD Rescue Ambulance unit was requested. RA Unit #13 responded and examined the student, then transported her to California Hospital for medical treatment.at 1:10 A.m. on Sept. 7, DPS officers responded to a report of an intoxicated student at 1119 28th St. in need of assistance. The student was conscious and coherent when contacted by the officers and they concluded that he was not in need of medical treatment. The student was then released into the care of a friend and transported home.at 12:41 A.m. on Sept. 7, DPS officers responded to an intoxicated student who was vomiting at the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. The student was conscious and coherent when contacted by the officers, and she declined medical treatment. The student was then released into the care of a friend and transported home.at 12:38 A.m. on Sept. 7, DPS officers on routine patrol observed an intoxicated student lying on the grass outside the Theta Xi fraternity. When they contacted her they determined that she was suffering from possible alcohol poisoning. An LAFD RA unit was requested and Unit #15 responded. The RA unit examined the student then transported her to California Hospital for medical treatment.at 10:22 p.m. on Sept. 6, a knife was found inside a DPS vehicle during a routine inspection and turned over to DPS detectives.AT 5:03 p.m. on Sept. 6, three students were cited to USC Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards for being verbally abusive and non compliant with an LAPD officer who issued them citations for crossing the street against a red light at Jefferson Boulevard and Royal Street.At 3:04 p.m. on Sept. 6, a faculty member reported that a student threatened school officials at another university after his application for medical school was rejected.at 2:59 p.m. on Sept. 6, a student was cited to USC Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards for belligerent behavior with an LAPD officer who issued him a citation for crossing the street against a red light at Jefferson Boulevard and Royal Street.at 2:42 p.m. on Sept. 6, DPS officers responded to a student who tore a nail when she opened a door into her toe. The officers examined the student then transported her to the Student Health Center for medical treatment.last_img read more