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Preliminary Legal Questions Concerning Establishment Of Religion And State Atheism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that a close assessment of human rights law substantiates that, notwithstanding the fact that human rights law on the face of it appears fairly indifferent as to the issue of state-religion identification, legal principles can in fact be extrapolated that have a profound and direct bearing on state-religion relationships in terms of their (il) legitimacy. It will be clear that these observations aim at the more extreme ends of the spectrum of statereligion identification, namely clear-cut establishment of religion on the one hand and clear-cut state atheism on the other. Based on the principles of subsidiarity and state sovereignty, human rights law would appear to largely leave it up to the individual states to design a political system that is capable of adequate human rights protection.

Keywords: human rights; religion; state atheism; state-religion identification



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