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Dorfman, “Freedom from Religion”

November 22nd, 2012

Avihay Dorfman (Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law) has posted Freedom From Religion on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

My argument develops two main claims. Negatively, I repudiate the core of the case against the redundancy of a principle of freedom from religion. The centerpiece of my argument at this stage is that the two prevailing theories of freedom from religion fail to take seriously the political circumstances – viz., democratic politics – under which claims for freedom from religion arise. Affirmatively, I develop an account of freedom from religion by elaborating the democratic conception of such freedom. On the proposed account, freedom from religion secures political freedom from infringements that are distinctively associated with religion. The point of freedom from religion is the protection of citizens from being (illegitimately) governed by public laws that are, nonetheless, grounded in religious reasons. Its basic point is to sustain political solidarity among citizens – who stand in the relation of co-rulers to one another – rather than among mere subjects – who share the status of being ruled together by another.

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