Free to Believe: Rethinking Freedom of Conscience and Religion in Canada
Published: June 2013© 2013
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 312 Pages
Dimensions: 6.26 x 9.30
312 Pages, 6.26 x 9.30 x 1.00 in
Free to Believe investigates the protection for freedom of conscience and religion – the first of the “fundamental freedoms” listed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – and its interpretation in the courts. Through an examination of decided cases that touches on the most controversial issues of our day, such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and minority religious practices, Mary Anne Waldron examines how the law has developed in the way that it has, the role that freedom of conscience and religion play in our society, and the role it could play in making it a more open, peaceful, and democratic place.
While the range of cases explored will be of interest to scholars, Free to Believe is also written in an accessible style, with legal terms and concepts explained for those who wish to learn accurate, detailed information about the impact of the law on contemporary social policy issues. As such, this book widens the debate about this fundamental freedom and the influence of public opinion on what is often a misrepresented and misunderstood issue.
Chapter One: Introduction: How Freedom of Conscience and Religion Are Protected and Why It Matters
Chapter Two: Early Cases: Getting Off on the Wrong Foot
Chapter Three: Culture Wars: Majority versus Minority Values
Chapter Four: When Religion and Politics Intertwine
Chapter Five: Human Rights: A Zero Sum Game?
Chapter Six: Conflicting Rights: A Balancing Act?
Chapter Seven: Freedom of Conscience: The Forgotten Human Right
Chapter Eight: Can We Change? (And Why We Should)
‘This uniquely brilliant contribution to the study of diverse social values is also timely as the Quebec government endeavors to inscribe Quebec society’s putative values in a controversial charter… Highly recommended.’ A.F. Johnson, Choice Magazine vol 51:08:2014
‘This thought provoking book provides readers with a valuable perspective for modern democratic issues.’ Nicholas Horlick, Saskatchewan Law Review vol 77:2014
‘Free to Believe should make a significant impact on the legal landscape in Canada. Mary Anne Waldron raises some very pressing, even urgent, questions, but in arguing controversial points remains fair and even-handed. Written with exceptional clarity, this book is accessible to the non-expert while serving the legal community well. Highly recommended!’ Douglas Farrow, Faculty of Religious Studies, McGill University
“Free to Believe is a significant book, contributing fresh analysis to an important area in Canada.”Iain Benson, Legal Philosopher, Scholar, and Senior Associate Counsel, Miller Thomson LLP