Against religious freedom: a debate
July 8, 2011
Austin Dacey and Colin Koproske have an intriguing essay in the latest issue of Dissent Magazine in which they argue for a rethinking of the concept of religious freedom. Dacey, as you might recall, is a former CFI staffer and author of The Secular Conscience. Koproske is a policy analyst in Washington, D.C. and has an MPhil in political theory from Oxford University.
Here is a taste of their article:
There are two quite distinct ideas that fly under the banner of "religious freedom." The first is that people have the right to practice a faith, consistent with the rights of everyone else. We think this is vital and unassailable. However, as we will contend, it is misleading to label this idea "religious freedom." The second idea is that religions deserve some special accommodations under the law that are not available to comparable secular institutions or commitments. ... Traditionally cherished and unquestioned though it may be, this latter notion of religious freedom is philosophically unsound, legally incoherent, and morally indefensible. To make real progress in the conversation about church and state, we must give it up.