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Religious Liberty in a Lockean Society

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Religious Liberty in a Lockean Society by Elissa B. Alzate
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This book assesses the concept of religious liberty in the United States according to the political theory of John Locke. Protecting the individual freedom of religion without infringing on the rights of others or on legitimate political authority requires delicate balance. The work analyzes Locke's concept of religious liberty and, from it, derives nine criteria for locating that balance. The most important of these criteria requires government neutrality and equality before the law. The United States has historically struggled with providing this balance, particularly through Supreme Court decisions, resulting in the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Application of Locke's criteria for balancing religious liberty and government authority to three recent cases-a government employee, an employer, and a small business owner-reveal that RFRA legislation threatens this balance by undermining neutral government action and treats citizens unequally before the law.

Author Biography

Elissa B. Alzate is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Winona State University, USA. She authored "From Individual to Citizen: Enhancing the Bonds of Citizenship Through Religion in Locke's Political Theory," Polity (2014) and From Concept to Dialogue: An Introduction to Political Theory (2017). She teaches courses in toleration and religion in politics.
Release date NZ
June 29th, 2017
1st ed. 2017
IX, 104 p.
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Palgrave Pivot
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