The Intersection of Religious Autonomy and Religious Symbols: Setting the Stage

Christopher McCrudden, Brett G Scharffs

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Two sets of issues in the area of law and religion have generated a large share of attention and controversy across a wide number of countries and jurisdictions in recent years. The first set of issues relates to the autonomy of churches and other religiously affiliated entities such as schools and social service organisations in their hiring and personnel decisions, involving the question of how far, if at all, such entities should be free from the influence and oversight of the state. The second set of issues involves the presence of religious symbols in the public sphere, such as in state schools or on public lands, involving the question of how far the state should be free from the influence of religion. Although these issues – freedom of religion from the state, and freedom of the state from religion – could be viewed as opposite sides of the same coin, they are almost always treated as separate lines of inquiry, and the implications of each for the other have not been the subject of much scrutiny. In this Introduction, we consider whether insights might be drawn from thinking about these issues both from a comparative law perspective and also from considering these two lines of cases together.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReasoning Rights: Comparative Judicial Engagement
EditorsLiora Lazarus, Christopher McCrudden, Nigel Bowles
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherHart Publishing
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781849462525
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


  • religion, human rights, freedom of religion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law

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