“Religion and COVID 19 in the U.S.: The Good, the Bad, and the Shocking” by Frank Ravitch of Michigan State University College of Law, United States, has been announced as the first keynote to be presented at The 12th Asian Conference on Ethics, Religion & Philosophy (ACERP2022), held concurrently with The 12th Asian Conference on Psychology & Behavioral Sciences (ACP2022).
To participate in ACERP/ACP2022 as an audience member, please register for the conference via the conference website.
Religion and COVID-19 in the U.S.: The Good, the Bad, and the Shocking
The responses to COVID-19 by religious individuals and entities in the United States have ranged from being scientifically informed, thoughtful, and balanced to endangering society. Similarly, the responses to religious concerns by government entities in the United States have ranged from scientifically sound while considering the needs of religious communities to pandering to certain religious communities in a manner that endangers society as a whole. Not surprisingly, much of this has coincided with the politicization of COVID in the United States. Thus, while the Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist and other religious communities have generally supported vaccination, masking, and social distancing (including holding services on Zoom), there has been a divide within Christianity. Most Christian denominations support vaccination, masking, and social distancing, but denominations associated more with social conservatism (for example, a large number of white Evangelicals) oppose vaccination, masking and distancing. Meanwhile, the response by state governments to religious vaccine exemptions and religious gatherings has varied from sincere attempts to accommodate religion with no or minimal harm to public health to subverting religion to public health concerns to pandering to conservative religious entities at the expense of public health.
Michigan State University College of Law, United States
Frank S. Ravitch is Professor of Law and Walter H. Stowers Chair in Law in Religion at the Michigan State University College of Law. He also directs the MSU College of Law, Kyoto Japan Program. He is the author of Freedom’s Edge: Religious Freedom, Sexual Freedom, and the Future of America (Cambridge University Press, 2016) (Nominated for a Prose Award); Marketing Creation: The Law and Intelligent Design (Cambridge University Press 2012), Masters of Illusion: The Supreme Court and the Religion Clauses (NYU Press 2007); Law and Religion: Cases, Materials, and Readings (West 2004)(2nd Ed. 2008) (3rd Ed. 2015 with Larry Cata Backer), School Prayer and Discrimination: The Civil Rights of Religious Minorities and Dissenters (Northeastern University Press, 1999 & paperback edition 2001). He is co-author, with the late Boris Bittker and with Scott Idleman, of the first comprehensive treatise on Law and Religion in more than one hundred years, Religion and the State in American Law (Cambridge University Press 2015) (this project was supported by a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment). He is also co-author of Employment Discrimination Law (Prentice Hall, 2005) (with Pamela Sumners and Janis McDonald).
Professor Ravitch's articles, which have appeared in a number of highly regarded journals, have primarily focused on law and religion in the US and Japan, but he has also written about civil rights law and disability discrimination. He has authored a number of amicus briefs to the US Supreme Court and has given numerous academic presentations nationally and internationally. In 2001, he was named a Fulbright scholar and served on the law faculty at Doshisha University (Japan). He has also made dozens of public presentations explaining the law before school groups, community groups, and service clubs and has served as an expert commentator for print and broadcast media.
Professor Ravitch’s current projects include a book on the Japanese Legal System (co-authored with Colin Jones), a chapter on law and religious tradition, and a project focusing on Law, Religion, and Authoritarianism. He speaks English and basic conversational Japanese and Hebrew.