Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Prof. Gerard Bradley on religious freedom and the common good

My colleague, Prof. Gerard Bradley, has a thoughtful piece up at Public Discourse, called "Religious Liberty and the Common Good."  Here's a bit:

A key pillar of the common good as it pertains to religious liberty, then, is a strict duty to respect by each person of every other person’s freedom in religious matters. Another is the softer—affirmative, circumstantially qualified—obligation to do what one can to protect others from coercion, pressure, manipulation, and unworthy persuasion....

Described in this way, freedom of religion might sound like a strikingly negativeliberty. And indeed, freedom from force and manipulation is essential to religious liberty. But it is not the whole of it. Not nearly.

Unless it is suffused with the right cultural stuff, a scheme overridingly committed to each person’s free quest for religious truth is likely to derail into an enabler of individual self-invention and individuality for its own sake. Where it happens (and I think it is happening in America right now) this devolution into subjectivity is acidic. It corrodes the undercarriage of genuine religious liberty, especially the essential notion that religion is about objective truth. Plainly put, a culture that has lost its belief that religion is about the truth of reality has decapitated religious liberty....


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