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Accommodating What Needn't Be Special

Letsas, G; (2016) Accommodating What Needn't Be Special. Law & Ethics of Human Rights , 10 (2) pp. 319-340. 10.1515/lehr-2016-0015. Green open access

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Abstract

Liberal debates on religious accommodation have so far focussed on the nature of the interest upon which the right to freedom of religion is based. Liberals who oppose religious accommodation argue that there is nothing special about religious belief. Those who defend accommodation on the other hand seek to identify some property (such as conscience or deep commitments) that both religious and non-religious beliefs can share. The article seeks to develop an argument in favour of certain types of religious accommodation that is agnostic about the nature of religious belief and whether it is special in any sense. It argues that it is a mistake to think that the question of religious accommodation, as it arises in law, must necessarily turn on arguments about freedom of religion. The principle of fairness can justify legal duties to accommodate religious (and non-religious) practices, without the need to assess the character of the practice in question or the reasons for engaging in it. The article argues further that the principle of fairness can better explain why human rights courts uphold some claims for religious accommodation as reasonable, and not others.

Type: Article
Title: Accommodating What Needn't Be Special
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1515/lehr-2016-0015
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1515/lehr-2016-0015
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Laws
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1502433
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