Is Religion Special? More Likely Than Not!

The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy & Public Policy. Edited by David Boonin. New York: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2019. Pp. 277-289

13 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2021 Last revised: 30 Jul 2021

See all articles by Francis Joseph Beckwith

Francis Joseph Beckwith

Baylor University - Department of Philosophy; Baylor University - Department of Political Science; Baylor University - Institute for Studies of Religion

Date Written: August 4, 2019

Abstract

Some have questioned why religion should be singled out for special treatment in our legal instruments, such as the US Constitution, Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Why, for example, do these documents afford protection to citizens who engage in an activity religiously, while not affording the same protection for citizens who engage in what appears to be the same activity non-religiously? To answer this question, the author explains why religion, as with other associations and practices (e.g., marriage, speech, etc.), has been justly singled out. However, he goes on to show how so-called non-religious beliefs and practices can be afforded the same (and in some cases, a slightly different) protection under the law without diminishing the historical reason for religion’s specialness: the two sovereigns account.

Keywords: Specialness of Religion, Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), Hobby Lobby, Birth Control, Religious Exemptions, Conscience

Suggested Citation

Beckwith, Francis, Is Religion Special? More Likely Than Not! (August 4, 2019). The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy & Public Policy. Edited by David Boonin. New York: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2019. Pp. 277-289, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3859783

Francis Beckwith (Contact Author)

Baylor University - Department of Philosophy ( email )

One Bear Place #97273
Waco, TX 76798-7273
United States
254-710-6464 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://francisbeckwith.com

Baylor University - Department of Political Science

Baylor University - Institute for Studies of Religion

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