Disaggregating Corporate Freedom of Religion

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The paper investigates arguments for the idea in recent American Supreme Court jurisprudence that freedom of religion should not simply be understood as an ordinary legal right within the framework of liberal constitutionalism but as an expression of deference by the state and its legal system to religion as a separate and independent jurisdiction with its own system of law over which religious groups are sovereign. I discuss the relationship between, on the one hand, ordinary rights of freedom of association and freedom of religion and, on the other hand, this idea of corporate freedom of religion, often called ‘church autonomy’. I argue that the arguments conflate different issues, elide important distinctions and equivocate over crucial terms. There is accordingly a need for disaggregation of the concerns raised under the heading of church autonomy. This significantly weakens the apparent case for church autonomy.
TidsskriftNetherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)221-230
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - 14 okt. 2015


  • Kirkeautonomi
  • foreningsfrihed
  • Jean Cohen
  • religionsfrihed

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