In both Europe and North America it can be argued that the associational and institutional dimensions of the right to freedom of religion or belief are increasingly coming under pressure. This book demonstrates why a more classical understanding of the idea of a liberal democracy can allow for greater respect for the right to freedom of religion or belief.
The book examines the major direction in which liberal democracy has developed over the last fifty years and contends that this is not the most legitimate type of liberal democracy for religiously divided societies. Drawing on theoretical developments in the field of transnational constitutionalism, Hans-Martien ten Napel argues that redirecting the concept and practice of liberal democracy toward the more classical notion of limited, constitutional government, with a considerable degree of autonomy for civil society organizations would allow greater religious pluralism. The book shows how in a post-secular and multicultural context, modern sources of constitutionalism and democracy, supplemented by premodern, transcendental legitimation, continue to provide the best means of legitimating Western constitutional and political orders.
The practice of religion by individuals and groups, the rise of religious diversity, and the fear of religious extremism, raise profound questions for the interaction between law and religion in society. The regulatory systems involved, the religion laws of secular government (national and international) and the religious laws of faith communities, are valuable tools for our understanding of the dynamics of mutual accommodation and the analysis and resolution of issues in such areas as: religious freedom; discrimination; the autonomy of religious organisations; doctrine, worship and religious symbols; the property and finances of religion; religion, education and public institutions; and religion, marriage and children. In this series, scholars at the forefront of law and religion contribute to the debates in this area. The books in the series are analytical with a key target audience of scholars and practitioners, including lawyers, religious leaders, and others with an interest in this rapidly developing discipline.
Professor Norman Doe is Director of the Centre for Law and Religion, which he set up at Cardiff Law School in 1998.
Carmen Asiaín is a Law Professor at University of Montevideo (Uruguay).
Paul Babie is Professor and Associate Dean (International), Adelaide Law School.
Pieter Coertzen is the chairperson of the Unit for the Study of Law and Religion in the Beyers Naudé Center for Public Theology, Faculty of Theology, University of Stellenbosch.
Alison Mawhinney is a Reader in Law at Bangor University.
Michael John Perry is a Senior Fellow at Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion and has held a Robert W. Woodruff University Chair there since 2003.