State-Religion Relationships and Human Rights Law: Towards a Right to Religiously Neutral Governance

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This book presents a human rights-based assessment of the various modes of state-religion identification and of the various forms of state practice that characterize these different state-religion models. This book makes a case for the recognition of a state duty to remain impartial with respect to religion or belief in all regards so as to comply with people’s fundamental right to be governed, at all times, in a religiously neutral manner.

“As this book demonstrates through the various case studies…there is increasing interest - and concern - at the manner in which questions concerning the enjoyment of the right to the freedom of religion or belief bear upon key questions concerning the governance of democratic society. Issues raised involve matters concerning employment, education, expression, association and, more generally, the interface between religion and political life. The existing literature often traces these concerns back to the need to consider the place of religion in contemporary society - but leaves matters there. Another body of academic literature explores the theoretical dimensions of that relationship but fails to connect it to the practice of states in order to test out the propositions which are the product of these reflections. The great virtue of this work is that is seeks to unite these various enterprises and engages head on with the challenges which this produces…The aim is to demonstrate and illustrate the key contention…: that there is an emergent right to religiously neutral governance, and that this is incompatible with the continuation of systems which offer preference to particular forms of belief system - religious or otherwise. A chief virtue of this book is that it works through the consequences of this claim in a fearless fashion, posing challenges for those states which continue to use their legal frameworks to offer support (directly or indirectly) for historical, dominant or favoured forms of religion or belief. It challenges received assumptions and, by driving the logic of contemporary human rights thinking to the foundations of state-religion relationships performs a valuable service for those engaging with this most difficult - and timely - of questions.”
Malcolm D. Evans, Professor of Public International Law, University of Bristol

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Jeroen Temperman is Associate Professor of Public International Law at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. He has published extensively on international human rights law and religion-state relationships, matters of freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief and non-discrimination. He is editor-in-chief of Religion & Human Rights: An International Journal.
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Table of Contents

Table of Contents – Summary
1 Introduction;
Part I State–Religion Identification:A Comparative Legal Analysis
2 Religious States, State Religions & State Churches;
3 State Support & State Acknowledgement of Religion;
4 Accommodation of Religions & Non-Identification;
5 Secularism & Separation of State and Religion;
6 Secular State Ideologies & Negative Identification;
Part II State–Religion Identification: A Human Rights Analysis
7 Preliminary Legal Questions Concerning Establishment of Religion and State Atheism;
8 Religious Laws & the State;
9 State Entanglement with Religion & the Equal Religious;
Rights of Others, Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Association and Equal Employment Opportunities;
10 Religion & Education;
11 Religion & Politics;
Part III Conclusion: The Emerging Right to Religiously Neutral Governance
12 Towards Religiously Neutral Governance.
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