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Religious Exemptions$
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Kevin Vallier and Michael Weber

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190666187

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190666187.001.0001

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How Should We Treat Religion? On Exemptions and Exclusions

How Should We Treat Religion? On Exemptions and Exclusions

(p.37) 3 How Should We Treat Religion? On Exemptions and Exclusions
Religious Exemptions

Kevin Vallier

Michael Weber

Oxford University Press

The law of religious liberty in the United States tends to treat religion as special in two ways. It does first by offering religious citizens certain exemptions and accommodations based on their religious objections to otherwise generally applicable law. Second, it enforces certain exclusions of public expressions of religious doctrines or values. But this special treatment is unwarranted since states should recognize religious principles of action as legally equivalent to a variety of sectarian secular doctrines that people affirm as a matter of conscience. This essay argues for the coherence and relative attractiveness of (i) robust protections for both religious and secular conscience, and (ii) weak restrictions on noncoercive establishment of both religious and secular doctrines.

Keywords:   religious exemptions, religious accommodation, religious exclusions, religious establishment, public reason liberalism, secular doctrines

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