Philosophy of Religion and Religious Communities


Resource authors: Daniel Whistler and Daniel J. Hill
Project: Philosophy of Religion and Religious Communities: Defining Beliefs and Symbols

This scoping study addresses the question ‘when, if ever, is it acceptable to prohibit the use of religious symbols?’. The present discussion paper summarizes the key findings of our final report, which itself stems from an extensive review of the literature in the fields of philosophy, religion, and the case law of the highest court of appeal in the UK, the European Court (and Commission) of Human Rights. The paper also reports the anxieties and recommendations of religious and legal practitioners concerning research in this area. The study advances two substantive proposals in the legal field: (a) that the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights has recently exhibited what we call ‘a practical turn’, and (b) that the suggestion by certain leading legal scholars that actions count as manifestations of beliefs only if they pass the so-called ‘necessity test’ is nothing short of a myth.

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