Article Title

A critique of Ronald Dworkin's limitation of passive forms of religious expression in the public sphere


The renowned legal philosopher Ronald Dworkin argues that passive forms of religious expression be stripped of their ‘religious character’ before being included in the public sphere. Dworkin’s understanding in this regard is founded by the view that freedom of religion should constitute a ‘general right to ethical independence’ rather than a ‘special right’. This approach, as postulated in Dworkin’s last book, ‘Religion without God’, evokes critical thought directed at the exclusion of ‘passive’ forms of religious expression (such as displays, statues, paintings, anthems, mottos, symbols and attire) in the public sphere. In addition, it is argued that public spaces in democratic and so-called plural paradigms should rather be more inclusive of religious forms of passive expression.


critique, Ronal Dworkin, “Religion without God”, passive forms of religious expression, freedom of religion

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