Law, Religion and Public Reasoning

January 16, 2012

Senior Fellow Jonathan Chaplin writes, "a forceful recent opinion on law and religion by Lord Justice Laws in a religious discrimination case has drawn renewed attention to two principles often supposed by liberal legal and political theorists to be essential foundations of liberal democracy: the principle of state ‘neutrality’ towards religion; and the principle that public reasoning must be ‘secular’. While the first principle is defensible, the second principle is invalid and illiberal, and proposes a conception of public reasoning that permits, indeed positively encourages, the invocation of religiously based reasoning in ‘representative’ political speech."

Topics: Religion, Law