State Sovereignty, Associational Interests, and Collective Religious Liberty

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  • 1 University of Oxford

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In Chapter 5 of Liberalism’s Religion, Cécile Laborde considers the freedom and autonomy of religious associations within liberal democratic societies. This paper evaluates her central arguments in that chapter. First, I argue that Laborde makes things too easy for herself in dismissing controversies over the state’s legitimate jurisdictional authority. Second, I argue that Laborde’s view of when associations’ ‘coherence interests’ justify exemptions is too narrow. Third, I consider how we might develop an account of judicial deference to associations’ ‘competence interests’.

  • Billingham, Paul. 2019. “Exemptions for Religious Groups and the Problem of Internal Dissent,” in Religious Beliefs and Conscientious Exemptions in a Liberal State, ed. John Adenitire (Oxford, UK: Hart Publishing), pp. 51–69.

  • Billingham, Paul. Unpublished ms. “The Scope of Religious Group Autonomy: Varieties of Judicial Examination of Church Employment Decisions.”

  • Laborde, Cécile. 2015. “Religion in the Law: The Disaggregation Approach,” Law and Philosophy 34(6): 581–600.

  • Laborde, Cécile. 2017. Liberalism’s Religion. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

  • Schwartzman, Micah, Chad Flanders, and Zoë Robinson, eds. 2016. The Rise of Corporate Religious Liberty. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

  • Shorten, Andrew. Forthcoming. “May Churches Discriminate?” Journal of Applied Philosophy.

  • Wolterstorff, Nicholas. 2012. The Mighty and The Almighty: An Essay in Political Theology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

  • Lombardi Vallauri v. Italy, App no 39128/05 (ECtHR, 20 October 2009).

  • Obst v. Germany, App no 425/03 (ECtHR, 23 September 2010).

  • Siebenhaar v. Germany, App no 18136/02 (ECtHR, 3 February 2011).

  • Scüth v. Germany (2011) 52 EHRR 32.

  • Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 584 U.S. ___ (2018).

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