Beyond Lautsi: An Alternative Approach to Limiting the Government's Ability to Display Religious Symbols in the Public Workplace
Hans-Martien ten Napel
Leiden Law School
Katayoun Alidadi, Marie-Claire Foblets, Jogchum Vrielink (eds.), A Test of Faith? Religious Diversity and Accommodation in the European Workplace, Ashgate, 2012, 87-99
One of the central ideas underlying the chapter is that the questions regarding the limits of the government’s ability to display religious symbols in the public sphere, and how judges should deal with the manifestation by citizens of religious symbols in public institutions, are closely interrelated.
First, the Chamber and Grand Chamber judgments in the Lautsi case and several related cases in the Italian context will be discussed. Next, two prototypical reactions will be described: one (Mancini’s) agreeing with the Chamber judgment; the other (Weiler’s) agreeing with the Grand Chamber judgment. Finally, after a brief comparison with U.S. case law, an alternative approach inspired by the concept of positive secularism is sketched as a possible way out of this deadlock. This concept has recently been defended in the report of The Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences (CCPARDC), which was responsible for analyzing the challenges posed by a new migratory situation in Québec, Canada, among others. The chapter ends with a conclusion.
Keywords: religious symbols in public institutions, Lautsi case, positive secularism
Date posted: December 29, 2012
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