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Religion and the Exercise of Public Authority

Editor(s): Benjamin L Berger, Richard Moon
Media of Religion and the Exercise of Public Authority
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Published: 16-06-2016
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 224
ISBN: 9781849467155
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £60.00
Online price : £54.00
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Loren Epson

About Religion and the Exercise of Public Authority

In the burgeoning literature on law and religion, scholarly attention has tended to focus on broad questions concerning the scope of religious freedom, the nature of toleration and the meaning of secularism. An under-examined issue is how religion figures in the decisions, actions and experiences of those charged with performing public duties. This point of contact between religion and public authority has generated a range of legal and political controversies around issues such as the wearing of religious symbols by public officials, prayer at municipal government meetings, religious education and conscientious objection by public servants.

Authored by scholars from a variety of disciplines, the chapters in this volume provide insight into these and other issues. Yet the volume also provides an entry point into a deeper examination of the concepts that are often used to organise and manage religious diversity, notably state neutrality. By examining the exercise of public authority by individuals who are religiously committed – or who, in the discharge of their public responsibilities, must account for those who are – this volume exposes the assumptions about legal and political life that underlie the concept of state neutrality and reveals its limits as a governing ideal.

Table Of Contents

Introduction: Religious Neutrality and the Exercise of Public Authority
Richard Moon and Benjamin L Berger
1. The Meaning and Entailment of the Religious Neutrality of the State: The Case of Public Employees
Jocelyn Maclure
2. Against Circumspection: Judges, Religious Symbols, and Signs of Moral Independence
Benjamin L Berger
3. Religious Lawyering and Legal Ethics
Faisal Bhabha
4. Managing and Imagining Religion in Canada from the Top and the Bottom: 15 Years After
Paul Bramadat
5. God Keep Our Land: The Legal Ritual of the McKenna-McBride Royal Commission, 1913–16
Pamela E Klassen
6. In/Visible Religion in Public Institutions: Canadian Muslim Public Servants
Amélie Barras, Jennifer A Selby and Lori G Beaman
7. The Prayer Case Saga in Canada: An 'Expert Insider' Perspective on Praying in the Political and Public Arenas
Solange Lefebvre
8. Physicians' Rights to Conscientious Objection
Bruce Ryder
9. Conscientious Objections by Civil Servants: The Case of Marriage Commissioners and Same-Sex Civil Marriages
Richard Moon
10. A Freedom of Religion-Based Argument for the Regulation of Religious Schools
Daniel M Weinstock
11. 'Open House'/'Portes Ouvertes': Classrooms as Sites of Interfaith Interface
Shauna Van Praagh


“The work should be of interest to scholars in the fields of law, politics, and religion, but also to civil servants and other professions with a role in public life, such as lawyers, judges, doctors, and teachers. (...) this is a rich and original study of the role of religion in the public sphere.” –  Stratos Patrikios,Senior lecturer in Government and Public policy,University of Strathclyde, Glasgow., Reading Religion

“... a well-produced and reflective consideration of state/religion issues common to the Canadian and UK jurisdictions. The mix of disciplinary backgrounds results in something discernibly more than a wholly lawyerly treatment and is all the richer as a result. It presents an instructive counterpoint to UK concerns and cogently covers a great deal of ground. It is recommended both for its intrinsic interest and as a spur to UK reflection.” –  R M Morris, School of Public Policy, University College London, Ecclesiastical Law Journal

“...there is no doubt in the rich quality of the works published in this book. Further, the articles provide signposts as to how the law might develop in countries like Australia where the jurisprudence on several of the topics analysed in the essays is less advanced.” –  Mitchell Landrigan, Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney, Alternative Law Journal

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