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One aspect of the issue of toleration of religion is how far the government and others should recognize religious claims of conscience. Such claims will be present in any liberal democracy. The particular controversies on which attention is mainly focused shift, but certain underlying themes remain.

In this essay, I outline what I take to be the major issues about government recognition of religious claims of conscience. I then address the special problems created when a claim of conscience ends up competing with an opposing claim of conscience or with basic premises about fairness and justice. We can conceive of these as competing claims of toleration. Just such competition is involved when the question is a possible exemption from compliance with laws that recognize same-sex marriage and from laws that require insurance coverage of contraceptive drugs, two prominent issues in our present political setting


Law | Law and Society | Religion Law


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