Nick Martin, "Religious accommodation and public justification"

In contemporary liberal political thought, the public justification principle requires that all reasonable citizens be able to endorse, or at least not reject, the reasons that underpin laws and institutions. Religious reasons are commonly seen as paradigmatic examples of reasons that fail to meet the public justification principle. Yet, some liberals have sought to defend a right to religious accommodation on public justification grounds. This paper assesses three candidates for such a justification – basic good, intense preference, and integrity. To do so, I lay out three three basic conditions of public justification, namely, accessibility, non-partisanship, and non-alienatination. I argue that neither the basic good account nor the intense preference account can satisfy all three conditions. The integrity account appears to fare better, but this paper argues that on reflection it too cannot satisfy all three conditions.

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