Believing in Negotiation: Reflection on Law's Regulation of Religious Symbols in State Schools
Forthcoming in Negotiating with Religion, François Guesnet et al, Ashgate 2015
30 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2015 Last revised: 8 Jul 2015
Date Written: July 2, 2015
Focusing on recent developments relating to religious symbols in Western European state schools, this chapter will examine the reasoning adopted at legislative and judicial level. It will be submitted that if courts and parliament more greatly negotiated with religious claims, many of the current tensions and contradictions between secularism and religion would dissolve. This chapter will in turn address the conceptual and practical hurdles to negotiating with religion in state schools. Negotiating with religion implies that radical solutions are not the only possible means to satisfying fairness and neutrality. Welcoming all expressions of religion at school on an equal standing or banning all religious signs altogether may theoretically and constitutionally amount to sound decisions. The purpose of the chapter is to demonstrate that a third option – which gives a greater weight to one or a few religion(s) over others – may however also be acceptable and is arguably more desirable.
Keywords: religion; education; article 9 ECHR; proportionality; negotiation
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