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COVID-19 and Religious Freedom: Some Comparative Perspectives

 

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By Javier Martinez-Torrón

 

Abstract

 

The government’s measures against COVID-19 have raised, in virtually all contemporary democracies, important issues regarding the proportionality of limitations on fundamental rights, including freedom of religion or belief. This paper analyses some of those issues with particular reference to religious freedom, in the light of the experiences of various European and American countries. It also examines the cooperation (or lack of) between governments and religious communities in the fight against the pandemic, as well the response of religious communities to anti-COVID-19 rules, which has included recently some litigation alleging the unequal treatment of religion in comparison with other activities or institutions. The author argues that more dialogue and reciprocal cooperation between governments and religious communities (and civil society in general) is needed in this type of crisis, as well a strict scrutiny of restrictions imposed on freedom of religion from the perspective of proportionality and equality.

 

Content

1. The Coronavirus Crisis as an Opportunity for Social and Legal Analysis

2. Governmental Measures Against the Pandemic

3. The Justification of Limitations on Freedom of Religion or Belief

4. Equal Treatment and State’s Religious Neutrality

5. The Necessary State’s Dialogue and Cooperation with Religion

6. Reactions of Religious Communities to Governmental Measures

7. Concluding Remarks

 

Photo : https://fr.vecteezy.com/art-vectoriel/833599-coronavirus-covid-19-design

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