The Freedom of Conscience and Religion in Canada: Challenges and Opportunities

Emory International Law Review, Vol. 21, No. 111, 2007

56 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2010

See all articles by Iain T. Benson

Iain T. Benson

University of Notre Dame Australia; University of the Free State - Faculty of Law, Department of Public Law

Date Written: 2007

Abstract

Canada prides itself on welcoming diversity and being tolerant, multicultural, and pluralistic. In recent years, however, Canadians have had to become increasingly aware of the difficulties of balancing new claims and settled expectations against what were formerly established claims. In particular, the courts have struggled with the balancing of religious freedom and other Charter rights. This paper examines the foundations of religious liberty in Canada, education and religion, sexual orientation law, and the current role of secularism in public discourse. It argues that Canadian society needs a paradigm shift in its understanding of religion and religion’s interaction with the state to create an environment that is open, tolerant, and inclusive of religious practice. It also argues that religion is an equality right itself and should not be pitted against equality the way some commentators structure their arguments.

Keywords: Canadian constitutional law, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Section 2(a) Freedom of Conscience and Religion, Education and Religion, Evolution,Intelligent Design, Creationism, Homosexuality, Definition of secularism, Equality Rights. Freedom of Equality, Freedom of Association

JEL Classification: K12, K39, Z12

Suggested Citation

Benson, Iain, The Freedom of Conscience and Religion in Canada: Challenges and Opportunities (2007). Emory International Law Review, Vol. 21, No. 111, 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1654424

Iain Benson (Contact Author)

University of Notre Dame Australia ( email )

29 Shepard Street
Chippendale, Sydney 2008
Australia

University of the Free State - Faculty of Law, Department of Public Law ( email )

Bloemfontein
South Africa

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