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Law as a Precondition for Religious Freedom

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  • Christoph Engel

    () (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)

Abstract

Throughout history, people have suffered for the sake of their religion. Religious organisations have been forbidden or governments have tightly controlled them. The constitutional protection of freedom of religion is a necessity. In a religiously pluralistic world, granting the guarantee is also in the state’s best interest. Yet religions have been hesitant to embrace the guarantee. It implies secularism. Religious freedom is balanced against other freedoms, and against legitimate state interests. Government is faced with social forces that are grounded in eternity and that cannot be proven to be wrong. Seemingly the constitutional protection is a threatening for religions and the state as it is beneficial. Yet the essentially pragmatic nature of law overcomes the tragic dilemma – albeit only at the price of acknowledging that jurisprudence is policy-making.

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph Engel, 2011. "Law as a Precondition for Religious Freedom," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2011_06, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  • Handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2011_06
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    Keywords

    religions freedom; neutrality principle; human rights; pragmatism; proportionality principle; balancing; margin of appreciation; regulability;

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