Mark Modak-Truran
Mississippi College, School of Law

A Post-Secular Pluralistic Paradigm for Law and Religion 

Project description:

This research proposal identifies three paradigms of law and religion—pre-modern, modern, and post-secular—that compete within and across national boundaries and that determine the scope of religious freedom.  Pre-modern paradigms consider laws legitimate if they are legitimated by a religious foundation—the “Judeo-Christian tradition” in the United States or Islam in Iran, Afghanistan, and Iraq.  By contrast, the prevailing modern paradigm presupposes a secular foundation for law and a separation between law and religion.  Despite its widespread acceptance, my proposal maintains that legal indeterminacy, the new religious pluralism, and the paradox of sovereignty present crises for the modern paradigm.  Addressing these crises requires a post-secular paradigm that preserves the secularized text of the law but recognizes that a plurality of religious convictions—the ethos of religious pluralism—implicitly legitimates and de-secularizes the law.  Consequently, rather than law locating religion or religion locating law; law and religion locate each other.


Dr. Mark C. Modak-Truran is the J. Will Young Professor of Law at Mississippi College School of Law. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Religious Ethics from The University of Chicago. He also received his J.D. from Northwestern University, where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Northwestern Journal of International Law and Business, and his B.A. (magna cum laude) from Gustavus Adolphus College. He has published numerous articles on law and religion and legal theory, and he is working on a book entitled Beyond Theocracy and Secularism: A Post-Secular Pluralistic Paradigm for Law and Religion.