Wagering on Religious Freedom
Nathan B. Oman
William & Mary Law School
Harvard Law Review, Vol. 116, No. 3, p. 946, 2003
Why is religious freedom valuable? This is a basic question necessarily presupposed in any discussion of the free exercise clause or other legal protections for freedom of religion. In this paper, I argue that at present American jurisprudence lacks a coherent theory of religious freedom. In the beginning, the arguments for religious liberty were cast in explicitly theological terms. In a pluralistic age, however, these theological arguments lack any real traction. Using Pascal's wager as an analogy, however, it is possible to recast the theological justification for religious freedom in terms suitable for a pluralistic society. Indeed, the argument can be formalized into a simple economic claim: religious liberty is Kaldor-Hicks efficient.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 23
Keywords: Law & Economics, Law & Religion, Religious Freedom, Pascal
Date posted: March 1, 2006
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