Law as a Precondition for Religious Freedom

23 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2011

See all articles by Christoph Engel

Christoph Engel

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods; University of Bonn - Faculty of Law & Economics; Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Students; Universität Osnabrück - Faculty of Law

Date Written: April 2011

Abstract

Throughout history, people have suffered for the sake of their religion. Religious organisations have been forbidden or governments have tightly controlled them. The constitutional protection of freedom of religion is a necessity. In a religiously pluralistic world, granting the guarantee is also in the state’s best interest. Yet religions have been hesitant to embrace the guarantee. It implies secularism. Religious freedom is balanced against other freedoms, and against legitimate state interests. Government is faced with social forces that are grounded in eternity and that cannot be proven to be wrong. Seemingly the constitutional protection is a threatening for religions and the state as it is beneficial. Yet the essentially pragmatic nature of law overcomes the tragic dilemma – albeit only at the price of acknowledging that jurisprudence is policy-making.

Suggested Citation

Engel, Christoph, Law as a Precondition for Religious Freedom (April 2011). MPI Collective Goods Preprint No. 2011/6, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1803254 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1803254

Christoph Engel (Contact Author)

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Universität Osnabrück - Faculty of Law

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