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Thursday, May 03, 2012

Journal of Law, Religion, and State

With thanks to St. John's law and religion blog, here's news of a new journal for those interested in church-state issues. The Journal of Law, Religion, and State describes itself as "an international forum for the study and discussion of the interactions between these domains. It is focusing on the following areas: religion and state; legal and political aspects of all religious traditions; comparative research of various religious legal systems and their interrelations." It looks good! I especially wanted to flag an article in its first issue by Mark D. Rosen, whose work I always profit from. It's titled "The Educational Autonomy of Perfectionist Religious Groups in a Liberal State." Here's the abstract:

This Article draws upon, but reworks, John Rawls’ framework from Political Liberalism to determine the degree of educational autonomy that illiberal perfectionist religious groups ought to enjoy in a liberal state. I start by arguing that Rawls mistakenly concludes that political liberalism flatly cannot accommodate Perfectionists, and that his misstep is attributable to two errors: (1) Rawls utilizes an overly restrictive “political conception of the person” in determining who participates in the original position, and (2) Rawls overlooks the possibility of a “federalist” basic political structure that can afford significant political autonomy to different groups within a single country. With these insights, I argue that some, though not all, religious Perfectionists are consistent with a stable liberal polity, and explain why foundational Rawlsian premises require that Perfectionists be accommodated to the extent possible. My ultimate conclusions are that liberal polities ought to grant significant autonomy to those illiberal groups that satisfy specified conditions, and that the autonomy of such “eligible” illiberal groups is subject to two further constraints, which I call “well-orderedness” and “opt-out.” The autonomy to which eligible Perfections are entitled includes the authority to educate their children in a way that provides a fair opportunity for the groups to perpetuate themselves. The constraint of well-orderedness, however, permits the State to impose educational requirements that facilitate peace and political stability. Accommodating eligible illiberal groups, subject to these constraints, is an instantiation of liberal commitments, not a compromise of liberal values. 

Posted by Paul Horwitz on May 3, 2012 at 12:34 PM in Paul Horwitz | Permalink


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