Journal Article

The Argument for a Narrow Conception of ‘Religious Autonomy’

Lisbet Christoffersen

in Oxford Journal of Law and Religion

Volume 4, issue 2, pages 278-302
Published in print June 2015 | ISSN: 2047-0770
Published online April 2015 | e-ISSN: 2047-0789 | DOI:
The Argument for a Narrow Conception of ‘Religious Autonomy’

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Canon law has not been valid law in the Nordic countries since the 16th century Reformation, and ecclesiastical law has been understood as a branch of public administrative law. The legal regulation of freedom of religion or belief has not basically changed this. However, recent changes in religious establishment law combined with changes in theoretical approaches to what is covered by freedom of religion and belief might introduce such changes. What is at stake is the concept of law, and not only parallel legal orders, but also legal pluralism, is the inclusion of religious legal systems such as canon law and Shari’a through a widened recognition of ‘religious autonomy’ really the best way forward, or should some connections between these religious laws and the law of the land be upheld? This article suggests the latter approach through the recognition of long-standing and basic concepts such as the division of powers and overlapping legal norms.

Journal Article.  13558 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Law ; Human Rights ; Law and Society

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