The Virtues of Law in the Politics of Religious Freedom

28 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2014 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

The moral force and capacity for inspiration of both religion and politics alike arise in part from the sense that they authentically map the world as we find it, yielding claims about how it should be. This paper asks what role we might imagine for law in this “hyper-real” world of religion and politics, arguing that law can display distinctive virtues linked to its capacity for strategic agnosticism about the real. Applying Sunstein’s idea of “incompletely theorized agreements” to the politics of religious freedom, the paper examines the role of law as a tool of adhesion in two very different constitutional settings – Canada and Israel – and argues for modesty as a functional virtue in law and legal process. Viewed in this way, law draws its worth from its tolerance for ambiguity, its sub-theoretical nature, and its pragmatic proceduralism, seeking to sustain political community in the presence of normative diversity, rather than speaking truth to difference.

Keywords: Religious Freedom, Politics, Incompletely Theorized Agreements, Modesty, Canada, Israel

Suggested Citation

Berger, Benjamin L., The Virtues of Law in the Politics of Religious Freedom (2013). Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 29, No. 3, 2014, Osgoode Legal Studies Research Paper No. 15/2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2409224

Benjamin L. Berger (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
160
Abstract Views
1,166
rank
202,065
PlumX Metrics