Talk About: Law and Religion

Blog of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies

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The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recently released its 2024 Annual Report, which contains recommendations regarding U.S. government efforts to enhance religious freedom globally. Nadine Maenza comments on the report and the global religious freedom trends it reflects.

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Far-right extremist groups around the world frequently use symbols and gestures associated with the Nazi regime in an attempt to spread hatred and intimidate communities. To curb these activities, some countries, including, for example, Austria and Germany, have long criminalized public displays associated with Nazism. In Germany, symbols including swastikas and SS sig runes are considered symbols of “unconstitutional organizations.” Publicly displaying or selling goods that depict them has been an offence under German criminal law since the 1960s and is punishable by a fine or up to three years in prison. Performing the Nazi salute in public, or making statements such as “Sieg Heil!,” is also illegal.

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FoRB Podcast: Business and Religious Rights

by Dmytro Vovk and Merilin Kiviorg

In episode 2 of The FoRB Podcast, Dmytro Vovk and Merilin Kiviorg invite Matteo Corsalini (University of Siena) to discuss religious freedom in the workplace and, more broadly, the business approach to FoRB protection. Matteo explains the economic aspect of FoRB, elaborates on the trend in EU Court of Justice (EUCJ) jurisprudence to expand the discretion of public and private employers in FoRB matters, and traces the EUCJ’s approach to the Court’s nature and history. He also guides Dmytro and Merilin through legal reasoning developed by the EUCJ, the European Court of Human Rights, and the U.S. Supreme Court in similar cases.

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In liberal Western democracies, one possible reading of the principle of “neutrality” vis-à-vis religions is that states should encourage the flourishing of all co-existing faith- and belief-based systems that inhabit the public sphere. While this paradigm embodies an “ideal type of inclusive secularism,” managing religious diversity under an egalitarian conception of neutrality does not mean that civic authorities must treat all groups seeking a place and a voice within the state with absolute impartiality.

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Human Dignity Initiative

Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with an invitation to a global conversation about preserving and protecting human dignity for everyone everywhere.

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