Freedom of Religion or Belief—Creating the Constitutional Space for Fundamental Freedoms: A New Book on Religious Freedom and its Protection from the Perspective of Several Jurisdictions

Neville Rochow QC is an Austrialian Barrister,  Associate Professor (Adjunct) at the University of Adelaide Law School, and a Senior Fellow at the International Center for Law and Religion Studies.

It is a genuine pleasure to accept the invitation to contribute this introductory essay to the blog series on the constitutional space for freedom of religion. “Constitutional Space for Freedom of Religion” has been a project that culminated in the book of essays which Paul Babie, Brett Scharffs, and I edited: Freedom of Religion or Belief—Creating the Constitutional Space for Fundamental Freedoms (Edward Elgar 2020).  (more…)

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Constitutional Cultures Creating Constitutional Space

Brett G. Scharffs is Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies and Rex E. Lee Chair and Professor of Law for the BYU Law School.  Brock Mason is a Student Fellow for the International Center for Law and Religion Studies and PhD Candidate at Fordham University.

Gathered in Paris, France more than 70  years ago, the newly minted United Nations met to consider and vote on an important resolution. Drafted in the aftermath of World War II and its horrific humanitarian tragedies, Resolution 217A expressed deep aspirations to recognize, protect, and promote human rights throughout the world. And on December 10, 1948, with no country voting against it, Resolution 217A—the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)—was adopted by the General Assembly. 

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Towards a Constitutional Definition of Religion: Challenges and Prospects

Dr. Alex Deagon is a Senior Lecturer and Faculty of Law at the Queensland University of Technology.

 


Definitions of “religion” are of central importance to creating the constitutional space for freedom of religion, for it is “religion” which receives protections in constitutional law and international law, and the definition of “religion” in “freedom of religion” will determine the scope of that freedom. However, attempts to define religion have proved to be controversial and contested.  There are many competing definitions by scholars and judges but no consensus has emerged. Some courts even refuse to define religion (see, for example, the
2013 Overview of the European Court of Human Rights’ Case-law of Freedom of Religion, para 11).

There are at least four challenges to defining religion.  (more…)

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