1st Edition

Religion, Law and the Politics of Ethical Diversity Conscientious Objection and Contestation of Civil Norms

    208 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    208 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides a multidisciplinary and comparative look at the contemporary phenomenon of conscientious objection or contestation in the name of religion and examines the key issues that emerge in terms of citizenship and democracy. These are analysed by looking at the different ways of challenging or contesting a legal obligation on the grounds of religious beliefs and convictions.

    The authors focus on the meaning of conscientious objection which asserts the legitimacy of convictions – in particular religious convictions – in determining the personal or collective relevance of the law and of public action. The book begins by examining the main theoretical issues underlying conscientious objection, exploring the implications of the protection of freedom of conscience, the place of religion in the secular public sphere and the recognition and respect of ethical pluralism in society. It then focuses on the question of exemptions and contestations of civil norms, using a multidisciplinary approach to highlight the multiple and diverse issues surrounding them, as well as the motives behind them.

    This book will be of great interest to scholars, specialists and graduate and advanced undergraduate students who are interested in issues of religious diversity. Researchers and policymakers in think-tanks, NGOs and government units will find the volume useful in identifying key issues in understanding the phenomenon of conscientious objection and its implications in managing ethical diversity in contemporary societies.

    Introduction. Contesting in the Name of Religion?

    Claude Proeschel and David Koussens

    Part I. Theoretical Issues

    1. Protecting Freedom of Conscience in a Constitutional State

    Pierluigi Chiassoni

    2. Contesting Philosophical Secularism: The Case for Pluralist Secularism

    Ravza Altuntas-Çakır

    3. Are there Consequentialist Grounds for Exempting Religious Health-Care Professionals from Medical Assistance in Dying?

    Daniel Weinstock

    Part II. Spaces of Contestation

    4. Freedom of Conscience in Private Companies: An Economic or a Political Problem?

    Vincent Valentin

    5. Should Conscience Clauses in Belgian Health Care be Institutionalised?

    Xavier Delgrange and Hélène Lerouxel

    6. Advocating in Ecology through Meditation: A Case Study on the Swiss "Inner Transition" Network

    Christophe Monnot and Alexandre Grandjean

    7. "We Don’t Wanna Be Outlaws’’: Hasidic Jews and their Allies Contest Municipal Bylaws in a Montreal Neighbourhood

    Valentina Gaddi

    Part III. The Rhetoric of Contestation

    8. Secular and Religious Reasons for Conscientious Objection: The Case of Medical Assistance in Dying

    Isabelle Dumont and Jocelyn Maclure

    9. The Impossibility of Contesting in the Name of Religion? Comparative Perspective on Assistance in Dying in Quebec (Canada) and the Canton of Vaud (Switzerland)

    Samuel Blouin

    10. The Politicisation of French Catholics on Intimate Issues Through the Promotion of Lay Expertise: A Case Study Based on the Emmanuel Community’s Magazine Il est vivant! (1975-2018)

    Samuel Dolbeau


    Claude Proeschel is Lecturer at the Université de Lorraine, France. She has been a member of the GSRL (Groupe Sociétés, Religions, Laïcités – EPHE-PSL-CNRS) since 2002.

    David Koussens is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at the Universite de Sherbrooke, Canada, where he holds the Research Chair in Law, Religion and Secularism.

    Francesco Piraino is Postdoctoral Scholar at Ca’ Foscari University – Venice, Italy. He is the Director for the Centre of Comparative Studies on Spiritualties and Civilizations at the Giorgio Cini Foundation in Venice, Italy.