Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1500291
 
 

Footnotes (30)



 


 



Is There a Right not to be Offended in One’s Religious Beliefs?


George Letsas


University College London - Faculty of Laws

June 1, 2009


Abstract:     
The paper scrutinizes the normative claim that the legal right to freedom of religion requires respect for the religious convictions of believers when expressing oneself in public; or, put differently, the claim that there is a right not to be offended in one’s religious beliefs by the public expression of the views of others. This claim has been endorsed by the European Court of Human Rights in its judicial reasoning and is popular with many courts in Europe when reviewing criminal legislation that prohibits blasphemy, religious hate speech, or the disparaging of religious doctrines. The claim, if true, justifies the position that a liberal state may sanction or prevent the public expression of views for the reason that they offend, or are likely to cause offense to, religious convictions. On the European conception of rights, the putative right not to be offended conflicts with, and should be balanced against, the right to freedom of expression. Challenging the European conception of rights, the paper argues that, on the proper understanding of the normative role of rights in political morality and of the value of free speech, the claim that there is a right not to be offended in one's religious beliefs is unfounded.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 22

Keywords: freedom of religion, freedom of expression, human rights, European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), blasphemy, hate speech

JEL Classification: K00

working papers series


Download This Paper

Date posted: November 8, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Letsas, George, Is There a Right not to be Offended in One’s Religious Beliefs? (June 1, 2009). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1500291 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1500291

Contact Information

George Letsas (Contact Author)
University College London - Faculty of Laws ( email )
London WC1E OEG
United Kingdom
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 1,917
Downloads: 690
Download Rank: 19,455
Footnotes:  30

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo6 in 0.469 seconds