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Influenced by the phenomenology of religion and triggered by secularization and increasing religious diversity, religious education became (largely) deconfessionalized in Sweden (1969), England (1971), Denmark (1975), and Norway (1997). In these nations, religious education is in state schools no longer organized by the church in a separative, confessional, and denominational way, but it is organized by the state in an integrative, non-confessional, and non-denominational way. A shift from denominational to non-denominational religious education did not occur in most southern and central European states. Alternatively, religious education became pluralized there: in addition to the Catholic (and Lutheran/Calvinist) Church, other “recognized” religions/worldviews increasingly gained the (legal) opportunity to organize “their” religious education in state schools and accordingly, the mono-confessional RE model evolved to a plural, but still denominational and confessional, RE model

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The problem, of course, is how to reconcile (in Justice Kennedy’s words) “the rights and dignity of gay persons …who face discrimination when they seek goods or services” with the free exercise rights of those who believe their religion prohibits them from providing those services because to do so would constitute an endorsement of institutions like gay marriage. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court failed to clearly identify a way to balance those two interests in Masterpiece Cake Shop, when it decided the case on the basis that the Colorado Human Rights Commission, in adjudicating the baker’s claim, had expressed hostility to religion in a manner inconsistent with the Free Exercise Clause. However, Justice Kennedy did suggest that permitting too many exceptions to the provision of services on the grounds of free exercise would result “in a community-wide stigma inconsistent with the history and dynamics of civil rights laws that ensure equal access to goods, services, and public accommodations.”

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The problem, of course, is how to reconcile (in Justice Kennedy’s words) “the rights and dignity of gay persons …who face discrimination when they seek goods or services” with the free exercise rights of those who believe their religion prohibits them from providing those services because to do so would constitute an endorsement of institutions like gay marriage. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court failed to clearly identify a way to balance those two interests in Masterpiece Cake Shop, when it decided the case on the basis that the Colorado Human Rights Commission, in adjudicating the baker’s claim, had expressed hostility to religion in a manner inconsistent with the Free Exercise Clause. However, Justice Kennedy did suggest that permitting too many exceptions to the provision of services on the grounds of free exercise would result “in a community-wide stigma inconsistent with the history and dynamics of civil rights laws that ensure equal access to goods, services, and public accommodations.”

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Unfortunately, the international justice system has remained reluctant to enforce such criminal prosecutions, ultimately due to the definitional instability and legal vagueness of the crime of persecution, which has blunted the enforceability of criminal prosecutions, resulting in impunity. The proposed solution was to propose a legally justifiable, comprehensively formulated, and pragmatically verified conceptualization of “grievous religious persecution”.
 

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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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