Religion between Liberty and Equality

in Journal of Law, Religion and State
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In this paper I argue that the shift from liberty to equality in the legal regulation of freedom of religion is part of a larger process of globalization of law that can change the “quality” of the right to freedom of religion and belief However, this shift does not have the same impact on different areas of the legal regulation of freedom of religion and belief. Moreover, it needs to be contextualized and considered in the light of the different historical and cultural background of each country. For these reasons the shift from liberty to equality cannot be understood as a linear process. The forms it takes and its final outcome can be very different according to the legal fields and the countries that are taken into consideration. Europe, with its rich background of internal diversity, provides a good case-study to test the soundness of this claim.

Religion between Liberty and Equality

in Journal of Law, Religion and State




 See GedicksReligious Freedom142–143.


Winnifred Fallers SullivanThe Impossibility of Religious Freedom (Princeton: Princeton University Press2011); Brian Leiter Why Tolerate Religion? (Princeton: Princeton University Press 2012).


GedicksReligious Freedom133. The same remark is made by Rex Ahdar (The Empty Idea of Equality Meets the Unbearable Fullness of Religionin this Journal) in the context of a critical overview of the liberal-democratic approach to freedom of religion (the approach that is upheld by Gedicks): “Religion is no longer special or distinctive but is simply lumped into a category along with other things important to personal identity such as political affiliations racial or ethnic background sexuality or marital status… If religion is not special then there is no need to single it out for separate mention or protection.”


 See S.N. Balagangadhara“The Heathen in His Blindness…” Asia the West and the Dynamic of Religion (Leiden: Brill1994); Prakash Shah Legal responses to religious diversity (or to cultural diversity?) in Silvio Ferrari (ed.) Routledge Handbook 119–132.


 See Silvio FerrariModels204–205.


 See Marco Ventura“Italy,” in International Encyclopaedia of Laws: Religion (Alphen aan den Rijn Wolters Kluwer 2013) 87ff.


 See John R. BowenWhy the French Don’t Like Headscarves: Islam the State and Public Space (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press2006).


 See Philip Petchey“Legal Issues for Faith Schools in England and Wales,” in Ecclesiastical Law Journalv. 10 2008 174–190.


 See Mohamed KeshavjeeIslam Sharia and Alternative Dispute Resolution: Mechanisms for Legal Redress in the Muslim Community (London: Tauris2013).


LeiterWhy Tolerate Religion?21.

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