Conscientious Exemptions in a Liberal State

John Adenitire

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The chapter shows that there is a consensus, and for good reasons, on a particular model for how liberal states should deal with claims for conscientious exemptions. This model, called the Liberal Model of Conscientious Exemptions, which is adhered to in the UK, has three defining criteria
A. The liberal state should generally refrain from passing moral judgement on the content of the beliefs which give rise to a claim for conscientious exemption;
B. The liberal state should neither privilege nor disadvantage religious beliefs over non-religious ones when considering whether to grant a conscientious exemption; and
C. The liberal state should grant conscientious exemptions to claimants who sincerely hold a religious or non-religious conscientious objection which would not disproportionately impact on the rights of others or the public interest.
The chapter argues that the Liberal Model is an ideal model which other liberal states should, if they do not already, subscribe to. The chapter also debates whether the Liberal Model finds support from the arguments of the contributors. It shows that most contributors do support this model and argues against Jones, Nehushtan and Malik who are not entirely committed to it.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReligious Beliefs and Conscientious Exemptions in a Liberal State
EditorsJohn Adenitire
PublisherHart Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)9781509920945, 9781509920952
ISBN (Print)9781509920938
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2019


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