Tuesday, July 04, 2017

How Could Religious Liberty Be a Human Right?

Andrew Koppelman

A growing number of scholars think “religious liberty” is a bad idea. They oppose religious persecution, but think that a specifically “religious” liberty arbitrarily privileges practices that happen to resemble Christianity and distorts perception of real injuries. Both objections are sound, but religious liberty is nonetheless appropriately regarded as a right. Law is inevitably crude. The state cannot possibly recognize each individual’s unique identity-constituting attachments. It can, at best, protect broad classes of ends that many people share. “Religion” is such a class. 

I develop this argument in a forthcoming article in the International Journal of Constitutional Law, now available on SSRN, here.

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