Religion, Identity and Freedom of Expression

Res Publica 17 (1):7-20 (2011)
Abstract
This article examines the issues raised by religious adherents’ wish to express their beliefs in the public domain through, for example, their modes of dress, their performance of public roles, and their response to homosexuality. It considers on what grounds religion might merit special treatment and how special that treatment should be. A common approach to these issues is through the notion of religious identity, but both the idea of religious identity and its use to ground claims against others prove deeply problematic. An alternative and more productive approach is through the notion of harm. People should enjoy the freedom to express their religious convictions subject to the harm principle, but harm should include the undermining of people’s status as free and equal citizens. The article concludes by considering the grounds upon which this alternative approach might recognize religion as special and might justify giving an overriding status to civic equality
Keywords Freedom of religious expression  Religious identity  Accommodation  Equality  Civic egalitarianism  Harm principle  Liberalism
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References found in this work BETA
Amy Gutmann (2004). Identity in Democracy. Princeton University Press.
John Rawls (1993). Political Liberalism. Columbia University Press.
Michael Sandel (2003). Liberalism and the Limits of Justice. In Derek Matravers & Jonathan E. Pike (eds.), Debates in Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Anthology. Routledge, in Association with the Open University.
B. A. O. Williams & T. Nagel (1976). Moral Luck. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 50:115 - 151.
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Omid Payrow Shabani (2008). Freedom of Religion, Democracy and the Fact of Pluralism. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 50:729-747.
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