Review of Brian Leiter, Why Tolerate Religion?
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Reasons for tolerating religion are not specific to religion but apply to all claims of conscience. Such is the central thesis that underlies Brian Leiter's book. The practical conclusion that he draws from that principle is that individuals with claims of religious conscience have no special right to request exemptions from generally applicable laws. In fact, unless their claims are not burden-shifting, they should be rather subject to the No Exemptions approach, alongside the individuals with the ‘merely’ secular claims of conscience.
The book is arranged in five sections. Chapter 1 examines the nature of the moral ideal of principled toleration as opposed to merely pragmatic (‘Hobbesian') compromise, on the one hand, and indifference or neutrality on the other. Chapters 2 and 3 are devoted to the question, ‘What makes religious claims of conscience distinctive?’ Leiter comes up with the two key marks of religion, namely the categoricity of religious commands and religious belief's...