The Aesthetics of Religious Freedom

Varieties of Religious Establishment, Winnifred Sullivan and Lori Beaman, eds., Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2013

Osgoode CLPE Research Paper No. 33/2012

22 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2012 Last revised: 26 Jul 2017

See all articles by Benjamin L. Berger

Benjamin L. Berger

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

What influence might legal aesthetics have on the shape of religious freedom? Focusing on time and space as foundational elements of the perception of phenomena, this paper argues that these aesthetic intuitions are an under-examined and yet elemental component of what conditions and shapes religious freedom in liberal constitutional orders. If one takes law to be a cultural form, attention to these basic facets of legal perception is essential to understanding law’s encounter with religion. Drawing from a range of examples in the Canadian jurisprudence, this paper shows that legal approaches to religious diversity, multiculturalism, tolerance, and accommodation are all subject to and framed by these aesthetic intuitions. To wonder about the possibilities open to us for responding to religious diversity through the law requires recognizing and wrestling with the temporal and spatial aesthetics of religious freedom.

Keywords: Religion, Religious Freedom, Establishment, Aesthetics

Suggested Citation

Berger, Benjamin L., The Aesthetics of Religious Freedom (2013). Varieties of Religious Establishment, Winnifred Sullivan and Lori Beaman, eds., Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2013; Osgoode CLPE Research Paper No. 33/2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2114589

Benjamin L. Berger (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

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