Treading on Sacred Grounds: Places of Worship, Local Planning and Religious Freedom in Australia, Noel Villaroman analyses the engagement of religious groups with local councils in Australia in their applications to build places of worship. Such applications often encounter opposition from local residents who are reluctant to share their neighbourhood or street with the newly arrived and less known ‘other.’ The local councils, being the planning authority that grants or refuses such applications, are caught in the middle of these disputes. Using the lens of international human rights law, the book probes the local councils’ actions and their repercussions to religious freedom. The book has concrete legal and social implications that it is bound to impact not only legal scholarship but also, crucially, policy makers.
Noel Villaroman, PhD, Monash University, is a legal professional who works for the United Nations. His other publications include a book chapter and several articles in refereed journals dealing with issues like corruption, foreign debt and human rights, and law and religion.
"Noel Villaroman’s careful and thorough analysis of the important issues arising at the intersection of religious freedom and town planning law will not only be of immense value to Australian lawyers, religious leaders, and town planners, but also has important data for those dealing with these issues around the Western world."
-Neil Foster, University of Newcastle
Table of contents
Excerpt of table of contents:
Abstract; Acknowledgements; Table of cases;
PART I – LAYING THE FOUNDATION
CHAPTER 1 Introduction
1.2 What is this book about?
1.3 Contextualising the book’s
problématique 1.4 Places of worship, local planning and religious freedom
1.5 Local planning and its interface with religious freedom
1.6 International human rights law as a research paradigm
1.7 What are included in ‘places of worship’?
1.8 The structure of the book
PART II – DETERMINING THE APPLICABLE LAW
CHAPTER 2 Freedom of Religion or Belief in International Human Rights Law and the Provenance of the Right to Establish and Maintain Places of Worship
2.2 The incremental development of the substance of the right to freedom of religion or belief
2.3 The limitations clauses: when manifestation of religion or belief may be validly restricted
2.4 The key principles underlying the international legal protection of religious freedom and how they relate with the right to establish and maintain places of worship
CHAPTER 3 The Right to Establish and Maintain Places of Worship: Unpacking the Substance of a Human Right
3.2 International human rights standard-setting on the right to freedom of religion or belief
3.3 The substance of the right to establish and maintain places of worship
CHAPTER 4 International Standards on Religious Freedom: An Analysis of Their Existence and Applicability in Australia
4.2 The inadequate legal protection of religious freedom in Australia
4.3 How international human rights standards on religious freedom are transported into Australian law and given domestic application
PART III – EVALUATING COMPLIANCE WITH THE LAW
CHAPTER 5 ‘Amen versus amenity’: The Protection of the Physical Amenity of an Area and its Impact on the Right to Establish and Maintain Places of Worship
5.2 Distinguishing between ‘physical amenity’ and ‘visual amenity’ in local planning
5.3 Resolution of physical amenity issues and how it impinges on the right to freedom of religion or belief
CHAPTER 6 ‘Beauty is in the eye of the worshipper’: The Preservation of the Visual Amenity of an Area and its Impact on the Right to Establish and Maintain Places of Worship
6.2 ‘Visual amenity’ and its subjective nature
6.3 Preservation of visual amenity and how it impinges on the right to establish and maintain places of worship
CHAPTER 7 ‘The devil is in the details’: Specific Design Controls on Places of Worship and State Encroachment on Religious Expression and Exercise
7.2 The manifestation of religious beliefs in physical structures
7.3 The curtailment of religious expression and religious exercise through design controls on proposed places of worship
PART IV – IMPLICATIONS AND CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 8 A Balancing Exercise under International Human Rights Law: The Right to Establish and Maintain Places of Worship vis-à-vis Legitimate Planning Objectives
8.2 Permissible limitations to the right to establish and maintain places of worship under Article 18(3) of the ICCPR
8.3 Legitimate planning objectives versus the right to establish and maintain places of worship
CHAPTER 9 Conclusion: The End of the Journey
9.2 Summary of findings
9.3 Contribution to the body of knowledge
9.4 Wider significance of the study
9.5 Opportunities for further research
9.6 An epilogue
Members of local councils in Australia, professional local planners, officers and members of religious associations, academics, researchers and post-graduate students of law and religion, and university libraries.