The Weekly Five

This week’s selections include a pair of reviews of two recent books, a piece on implementing religious law, an overview of the law of religious freedom in China, and a discussion of European anti-ritual-slaughtering laws.

1. Frederick Schauer (UVA Law), On the Utility of Religious Toleration: This review of Brian Leiter’s Why Tolerate Religion? accepts Professor Leiter’s deontically-grounded claims for religion’s non-specialness but challenges the claims grounded in utilitarianism, arguing that a stronger version of utilitarianism would accept unprincipled and even irrational distinctions as potentially welfare-maximizing.

2. Paul Horwitz (Alabama Law), ‘A Troublesome Right’: The ‘Law’ in Dworkin’s Treatment of Religion: A review of the late Ronald Dworkin’s Religion Without God, in which Professor Horwitz takes special aim at Professor Dworkin’s legal demotion of the right of religious freedom. He writes that the “gloss of abstraction” in Dworkin’s arguments results in substantial overstatements of the problems that Dworkin identifies.

3. Patrick McKinley Brennan (Villanova Law), Implementing Religious Law in Modern Nation-States: Reflections from the Catholic Tradition: Professor Brennan describes the Catholic natural law view of law, religion, and justice, and explores some of the incompatibilities of that view with the American constitutional framework.

4. Ping Xiong (University of South Australia), Freedom of Religion in China Under the Current Legal Framework and Foreign Religious Bodies: A very helpful introduction to the landscape of religious freedom in China. The regime of religious freedom is explored from the perspective of the major religions practiced in China–Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Confucianism–as well as smaller religious groups.

5. Robert J. Delahunty (University of St. Thomas School of Law), Does Animal Welfare Trump Religious Liberty? The Danish Ban on Kosher and Halal Butchering: Professor Delahunty explores the history of European “hygienic” and “humane” laws that ban ritual slaughtering practices. He concludes that these laws do little or nothing to promote animal welfare and probably are motivated by European unease with the growing Muslim population.

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