Next month in Rome, we’ll celebrate 10 years of cooperation with our colleagues at Universita LUMSA with the latest in our conference series on comparative law and religion: “Liberalism’s Limits: Religious Exemption and Hate Speech.” (Hard to believe we’ve been doing this for 10 years)! The conference description is below and details are here: If you’re in Rome, please stop by and say hello!

Liberal democracies historically have prized autonomy and freedom as fundamental political commitments. In doing so, they also have emphasized the individual’s freedom of religion and freedom of speech as sitting at the core of their political systems. Yet in religious exemption — the right of individuals to receive an accommodation from complying with generally applicable law on the basis of religious scruple — and in what some in these polities call “hate speech” – speech conveying deeply insulting, vilifying, discriminatory views against a target group – liberal regimes face serious challenges to their own core principles. This conference will examine the problems posed by these issues for the continuing viability of liberalism in Western democracies.

One thought on “Next Month in Rome: “Liberalism’s Limits”

  1. generally applicable laws regarding speech conveying “deeply insulting, vilifying, discriminatory views against a target group” do not merit religious exemptions for the same reason that compliance with other laws regarding harmful acts do not merit religious exemptions: acts harmful to persons cannot be justified by “religious scruple” because that is a claim that has no boundaries. Slavery and child prostitution have been (historically) justified that way too. ESPECIALLY in a Liberal democracy, there needs to be red lines that even religion cannot cross.

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