Religious Liberty and the Corona Crisis before the German Constitutional Court

Justin Collings 
is Francis R. Kirkham Professor of Law at Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School and author of 
Democracy’s Guardians: A History of the German Federal Constitutional Court, 1951-2001(Oxford University Press, 2015)

Global lockdowns intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 have raised wrenching questions about religious liberty. Although many faith communities have voluntarily shuttered to combat the plague, many religious people have chafed at regulations that require religious sanctuaries to close while permitting liquor stores to offer their “essential services.” Why, the faithful wonder, is booze more essential than the Sacred Host? Why should rum trump Ramadan? Some believers have expressed their anguish in constitutional challenges. In a pair of noteworthy decisions, the German Federal Constitutional Court has grappled with the tension between public health and religious exercise. In both cases, the Court has charted a pragmatic course through the crisis. Continue reading “Religious Liberty and the Corona Crisis before the German Constitutional Court”

COVID-19 Restrictions & (Re)Definition of Gender Roles in Nigeria

This post by Azizat Omotoyosi Amoloye-Adebayo is reprinted with acknowledgment of its original publication in the Blog of the Institute for African Women in Law.  Dr. Amoloye-Adebayo is a member of the Faculty of Law, University of Ilorin, Nigeria and a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. She was a member of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies’ Young Scholars Fellowship on Religion and the Rule of Law class held at Christ Church, Oxford, UK, in 2019. 
The views expressed in this entry belong solely to the author.

What happens when the “private” space becomes the “public” and ‘only’ professional space?

As of early February 2020, there was no reported case of Covid-19 infection in Nigeria. But by 21 April 2020, there were 665 reported cases and 22 deaths. On 17 April 2020, Nigeria recorded the death of the first high ranking government official, Alhaji Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. By this time, the narrative of the contagion had changed from one of ‘contact with persons with travel history’ to that of community spread, at least within the cosmopolitan state of Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja. The testing procedure had to be stepped up from contact tracing to community testing which led to the discovery of more cases. Continue reading “COVID-19 Restrictions & (Re)Definition of Gender Roles in Nigeria”

COVID-19 and Human Dignity


This Conversation was developed from contributions to an international Webinar held 16 April 2020: Freedom of Religion or Belief, COVID-19 and Human DignityEpisode 2 of the Webinar Series COVID-19 and Freedom of Religion or Belief. Panelists in this Webinar addressed the following and other questions: How is this global emergency affecting our concept of human dignity? How can we ensure that restrictions to civil liberties that we accept for our collective safety respect human dignity and human rights? Continue reading “COVID-19 and Human Dignity”