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Do Religions Deserve Special Status?

Week of: 
December 15, 2013
What is it: 

In most Western democracies, religions are exempt from certain rules and regulations that most other organizations have to follow. For example, in the US, religious organizations are not required to pay taxes or follow non-discrimination employment laws. Some faithful go so far as to argue that their religious freedom means they shouldn’t have to provide birth control to their employees. But does religion truly deserve this preferential treatment? Should the demands for legal exemption based on religious freedom be treated any differently than those based on moral conscience? What special status, if any, should religion have in the eyes of the law? John and Ken grant guest status to Brian Leiter from the University of Chicago, author of Why Tolerate Religion?

Brian Leiter, Karl N. Llewellyn Professor of Jurisprudence and Director, Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values, University of Chicago

Related Resources: 

Web Resources

McConnell, Michael. “The Substitution of ‘Free Exercise of Religion’ for the ‘Rights of Conscience.’”

McConnell, Michael. “Accommodation of Religion.”

Bedi, Sonu. “Debate: What is so special about Religion? The dilemmas of the Religious Exemption.”

Books

Locke, John. A Letter Concerning Toleration.

Researched By: 
Nabila Abdallah

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