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Religious Freedom and the Limits of Tolerance

Lecturer: Prof. Paul Rasor
18 oktober 2013

On 22 October, Prof Paul Rasor, a US scholar on religious freedom, will give a talk at the Centre for Religion, Conflict and the Public Domain in the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Groningen, discussing the implications of increasing religious and cultural diversity for how we uphold religious freedom and pluralism in the Netherlands and other liberal democracies.

Religious freedom has become a hot topic in an age of increasing migration and the apparent resurgence of religion in public life. The Netherlands has long been regarded

as among the world’s most tolerant societies, with a deep commitment to pluralism and religious freedom. Yet in recent times, with the backlash against multiculturalism and rising suspicion of immigrants, particularly Muslim immigrants, in the post-9/11 era, the Netherlands has had to face hard questions about national self-understanding and the limits of tolerance.

In this talk, Prof Rasor will compare legal responses in the Netherlands, the USA and Canada to constitutional issues of religious freedom that emerge from the inevitable conflicts generated by our increasing religious pluralism. In particular, he will discuss accommodation of religious difference, religious group autonomy, public funding of religious schools, and religious hate speech. These issues reveal potential conflicts among our most basic values and therefore create tensions in constitutional law. The three countries adopt similar approaches to some issues and widely divergent approaches to others. Yet these issues raise a deeper question: Are our existing models of religious tolerance adequate for responding to current pluralistic realities or do we need to begin developing alternatives?

The talk will begin at 4:30pm in the Court Room of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, Oude Boteringestraat 38. For more information, contact the Centre Director, Erin Wilson e.k.wilson or go to

Laatst gewijzigd:04 december 2015 16:17

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