The Moral Basis of Religious Exemptions

Law and Philosophy 35 (1):1-28 (2016)
Authors
Kevin Vallier
Bowling Green State University
Abstract
Justifying religious exemptions is a complicated matter. Citizens ask to not be subject to laws that everyone else must follow, raising worries about equal treatment. They ask to be exempted on a religious basis, a basis that secular citizens do not share, raising worries about the equal treatment of secular and religious citizens. And they ask governmental structures to create exceptions in the government’s own laws, raising worries about procedural fairness and stability. We nonetheless think some religious exemptions are appropriate, and in some cases, that exemptions are morally required. So how are we to determine when religious exemptions are justified? This article employs a public reason framework to provide an answer. I show how to publicly justify religious exemptions. My thesis is that a citizen merits a religious exemption under four conditions: if she has sufficient intelligible reason to oppose the law, if the law imposes unique and substantial burdens on the integrity of those exempted that are not off-set by comparable benefits, if the large majority of citizens have sufficient reason to endorse the law, and if the exempted group does not impose significant costs on other parties that require redress. If these conditions are met, then legislative and/or judicial bodies should carve out an exemption for those requesting them
Keywords religious exemptions  law and religion  religion and politics  constitutional law  public reason liberalism  political liberalism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10982-015-9246-9
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 36,003
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Political Liberalism and the False Neutrality Objection.Étienne Brown - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-20.
‘Everybody’s Gotta Do Something’: Neutrality and Work.David Jenkins - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-22.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Sincerity, Accuracy and Selective Conscientious Objection.Mark Navin - 2013 - Journal of Military Ethics 12 (2):111 - 128.
Religious Conscientious Exemptions.Yossi Nehushtan - 2011 - Law and Philosophy 30 (2):143-166.
Why Tolerate Conscience?François Boucher & Cécile Laborde - forthcoming - Criminal Law and Philosophy:1-21.
Religious Exemptions: An Egalitarian Demand?Stuart G. White - 2012 - Law and Ethics of Human Rights 6 (1):97-118.
Justice in Education and Religious Freedom.Jon Mahoney - 2014 - Social Philosophy and Policy 31 (1):276-294.
Equal Treatment and Exemptions.Michael McGann - 2012 - Social Theory and Practice 38 (1):1-32.
Conscience-Based Exemptions for Medical Students.Mark R. Wicclair - 2010 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 19 (1):38.
A Theory of the Normative Force of Pleas.Christopher Evan Franklin - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (2):479-502.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2015-10-08

Total downloads
52 ( #125,106 of 2,295,989 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #74,200 of 2,295,989 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature