Against Circumspection: Judges, Religious Symbols, and Signs of Moral Independence
in Benjamin L Berger and Richard Moon, eds., Religion and the Exercise of Public Authority (Oxford and Portland, OR: Hart Publishing, 2016).
22 Pages Posted: 13 May 2019
Date Written: 2016
This chapter questions the interpretation of religious signs and symbols — and the interpretive possibilities that emerge when we demand more from one another in thinking about such symbols — by examining the question of judges and religious dress in the particular context of the judge’s role as wielding the coercive force of the state through the exercise of criminal punishment. I advance the argument that recent debates have proceeded on a misleadingly simplistic approach to understanding the meaning of signs of religious belonging and identity in this setting and that, with this, we miss an opportunity for a deeper understanding of the virtues that we hope to find in our public officials.
Keywords: religious symbols, secularism, judges, judicial independence, punishment
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