Compromise and religious freedom

Law and Philosophy 39 (2):177-202 (2020)

Authors
Brian Hutler
Johns Hopkins University
Abstract
Compromise is surprisingly common in the context of religious freedom. In Holt v. Hobbs, for example, a Muslim prison inmate challenged his prison’s no-beards policy on religious freedom grounds. He proposed, and was eventually granted, a compromise that allowed him to grow a half-inch beard rather than the full beard normally required by his beliefs. Some have argued that such a compromise is inconsistent with the purpose of religious freedom, which is to guard against interference with an individual’s religious practices. Accepting a compromise, after all, may require a significant modification to one’s default practices. But this paper argues that compromise can be appropriate if the purpose of religious freedom is to foster the inclusion and acceptance of all people in a diverse political community. Moreover, the benefits of compromise may lend support to the inclusion-based conception of religious freedom as against the more traditional non-interference conception.
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DOI 10.1007/s10982-019-09365-3
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