By Shawn Proctor
This is part 1 of a 6-part series featuring the 2020 Falvey Scholars. Read more about them each Tuesday and Thursday, and in the upcoming issue of Mosaic, the library’s bi-annual publication.
Brett Schratz ’20 (Political Science, Philosophy, Honors majors)
Hometown: Plymouth Meeting, PA
Faculty Mentor: Sally Scholz, PhD, Professor and Department Chair, Philosophy Department
Additional Honors: Phi Beta Kappa, 2020 College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Commencement Speaker, Helen S. Lang History of Philosophy Award, Phi Sigma Tau, Summa Cum Laude
Research: “Rawls on “The Hard Question” for LGBTQ Rights: Are Religious Exemptions Just?”
In His Own Words
A complex and contentious issue in political theory and even in our society is the inherent tension between liberty and equality. We especially see this in the case of religious exemptions from providing services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (or queer) (LGBTQ) people. My research explores this sticky question by applying John Rawls’s theory of justice as fairness in the case of Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. I argue that religious exemptions are unjust and that they unduly harm LGBTQ equality, according to Rawls’s principles of justice.
Falvey’s Impact on His Work:
Before I decided to use John Rawls’s philosophy, I needed to explore a variety of thinkers before settling on one. Dr. Scholz and I used the librarians’ support to navigate the vast number of works to read and investigate further.
I used Falvey’s Philosophy subject guide, multiple databases, cross-loan book program, and the Philosopher’s Index to accumulate all my secondary literature. I managed to compile helpful and pertinent sources to add depth to my research.
The Impact on Him:
I plan on going to law school or onto a doctoral program. I hope to spend my career navigating these same issues in the legal system as well as in legal scholarship. However, I plan on expanding the scope of my research to other areas beyond LGBTQ rights.
The tension between liberty and equality can quickly turn hostile and I do not want to see religious liberty perverted into unjust discrimination.
I am joining the American Civil Liberties Union National as a Paralegal for their National Voting Rights Project. I will be working in public policy and affairs.
Shawn Proctor, MFA, is Communications and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.