News

August 28

The AAR Board of Directors has issued a public statement opposing white nationalism.

Statement Against White Nationalism

Statement of the AAR Board of Directors

August 12, 2019

The American Academy of Religion resoundingly condemns white nationalism and urges all members, individually, institutionally, and collectively, to fight against white supremacy and white nationalism while standing alongside those who bear the brunt of this violent ideology, willful ignorance, and oppressive behavior. The American Academy of Religion advocates for the study of religion as a powerful means to resist white supremacist structures, policies, and thought patterns. In promoting its values of academic excellence, professional responsibility, free inquiry, critical examination, diversity, inclusion, respect, and transparency in the study of religion, the American Academy of Religion hopes to help uncover and dismantle white supremacy at the structural and personal levels. The American Academy of Religion acknowledges that the lives of scholars, teachers, and students of religion are made better, more productive, and more meaningful by diversity of all kinds.

https://www.aarweb.org/statement-against-white-nationalism?q=statement-against-white-nationalism&fbclid=IwAR1OiLoSMOthBgu90iLyaGYQ-j78htP34_UFgsR8gUOtgk5ra0O2zR-KnJg


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June 28

The AAR Board of Directors has issued a public statement opposing the Quebec government's Bill 21.
Bill 21 aims to enforce the religious neutrality of the state by forbidding government employees to wear visible religious signs.

Opposing Quebec’s Bill 21

Statement of the AAR Board of Directors

June 28, 2019

On June 16, 2019, the National Assembly of Quebec approved new legislation, Bill 21, An act respecting the laicity of the State, that prohibits certain civil servants (including public school teachers) from wearing any item deemed a “religious symbol” during the performance of their official duties. It also imposes new restrictions on those seeking to deliver or access public services. As Premier François Legault explained, the purpose of the new law is to promote a secular public square and to affirm that “in a secular society...religion must not interfere with the affairs of the state.”

Despite those stated objectives, however, we believe that this legislation violates basic principles of equality before the law and that these legal provisions can have significant injurious consequences for members of our organization.

The American Academy of Religion has publicly affirmed diversity, inclusion, and respect among its central core values as a scholarly organization, and we believe that this legislation will impose substantial and unequal burdens on members of numerous religious minorities who seek to engage in various forms of public service, including teaching. As scholars of religion, we are keenly aware of the fundamental difficulties in defining the amorphous concept of “religious symbol,” and those difficulties leave this law open to substantial potential for discriminatory and biased enforcement. In addition, important recent scholarship has challenged the notion of “secularism” on which this legislation is based, and this analysis underlines the potential of this law to have pernicious social effects on various minority groups.

We join with other political leaders, academics, and human rights advocates in opposing this new law. The values of pluralism and equality are key to modern democratic societies, and all members of society should be encouraged to participate fully in public life, including the core mission of public education. This legislation runs counter to those fundamental civic values.

https://www.aarweb.org/board-statement-opposing-quebec-bill-21

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