Freedom of Religion in A Secular World
Cruft, Liao, Renzo (eds), Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights, OUP, 2014 Forthcoming
21 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2013 Last revised: 4 Feb 2014
Date Written: February 13, 2013
The human right to freedom of religion (HRFR) has a radically different understanding in the historical constitutional instruments of the US and Europe. It is for example embedded in the first amendment of the American Constitution but finds no explicit recognition in the French Declaration of Rights. The question that emerges from this simple starting point is: what is the place of freedom of religion in a system of protection of international human rights? Is there a single answer to this question or is it a deeply contingent matter that depends on discrete constitutional histories? This chapter attempts to unravel this deeply contentious issue, which goes to the very core of disagreement about the nature of the human rights to freedom of religion. Lacking agreement on what constitutes freedom of religion, international intervention should limit itself to the bare minimum on that ground. This makes freedom of religion a limited right at the international level.
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