Volume 61, 2018
Philosophy of Religion
On What Grounds should Religious Practices be Accommodated?
In this paper, I seek to challenge two prevailing views about religious accommodation. The first maintains that religious practices deserve accommodation only if they are regarded as something unchosen on a par with the involuntary circumstances of life people must face. The other view maintains that religious practices are nothing more than preferences but questions the necessity of their accommodation. Against these views, I argue that religious conducts, even on the assumption that they represent voluntary behaviours, deserve in certain circumstances certain kinds of accommodation. In the first part of the paper, I explain how religious conscience should be understood and show that they must be understood as one possible expression, along with nonreligious or secular beliefs, of a person’s convictions of conscience. In the second part, I demonstrate that the main ground for religious accommodation is the need to protect fairly, through such rights as religious freedom and freedom of conscience, the ethical commitments and conscientious beliefs of all citizens.