Research Handbook on Law and Religion
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Research Handbook on Law and Religion

Edited by Rex Ahdar

Offering an interdisciplinary, international and philosophical perspective, this comprehensive Research Handbook explores both perennial and recent legal issues that concern the modern state and its interaction with religious communities and individuals.
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Chapter 6: What kind of human right is religious liberty?

Andrew Koppelman

Abstract

The idea of ‘religious liberty’ is increasingly criticized for arbitrarily privileging practices that happen to resemble Christianity and distorting the perception of real injuries. Both objections are sound. Religious liberty is nonetheless appropriately regarded as a right. The state cannot possibly recognize each individual’s unique identity-constituting attachments. It can, at best, protect broad classes of ends that many people share. ‘Religion’ is one of these.

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