14 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2013
Date Written: September 20, 2013
This paper discusses how law is increasingly being used to attack religious associations under the guise of “equality” advancement and “non-discrimination” restrictions. Related to this are two other important insights: first that the concept of “transformation” which can be a very good thing, if understood correctly, is being used to shelter approaches to law that fail to respect properly associational diversity. When misused, “transformation” and related arguments based on the “rhetoric of equality” seek to get inside religious associations to change their moral viewpoints or religious beliefs by force of law. In this situation, what should be acceptable differences of opinion on certain legally contestable matters, are stigmatized and attacked in inappropriate ways if law is ordered to a free and democratic society that respects “diversity,” “multi-culturalism” and “pluralism.” Second, the paper discusses the expansion of law beyond its proper role so that it becomes a threat to associations that should be supported by law not interfered with inappropriately by it. Law and religions have different characteristics and the “goods of religion” and the “limits of law” need to be more widely recognized and understood both by religious communities and by those involved in law, politics and the media. When the two insights are put together it can be seen that certain “equality activists” employ a rhetoric of “equality” to produce inequality, “diversity” to produce homogeneity and “non-discrimination” to discriminate against religious communities and religious beliefs. Several solutions for identifying these errors and resisting them are outlined in brief.
Keywords: Law and Religion, Definitions of liberalism, pluralism, diversity, transformative constitutionalism, political theolog, civil religion, constitutional theocracy, law as religion, freedom of association, values versus virtues, homophobia, heterosexism, civic totalism
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Benson, Iain T., The Attack on Western Religions by Western Law: Re-Framing Pluralism, Liberalism and Diversity (September 20, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2328825 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2328825