Skip to content

Mary Ann Glendon, Making the Case for Religious Freedom in Secular Societies, 32 J.L. & Religion 1 (2019).

Abstract: This is the text of the opening keynote lecture delivered at the conference, “Is Religious Freedom under Threat?,” Christ Church, Oxford, May 23–25, 2018, convened by Oxford University's McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics and Public Life and Emory University's Center for the Study of Law and Religion. It is truly an honor to deliver the opening lecture for this McDonald Conference titled “Is Religious Liberty under Threat?” Since it was only four years ago that I had given a talk on that subject for the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion’s Summer Academy, which built in turn upon my Harold Berman Lecture at Emory University two years before, I have had to give some serious thought to how I might avoid repeating myself. Yet when I looked back over what I said on those occasions, I wished that I had dwelt less upon the threats and more on the challenge of how to address them. What I would like to do in this lecture, therefore, is to offer some suggestions in the hope of stimulating discussion about how to make the case for religious freedom as a fundamental human right in today's increasingly secular liberal democracies.