Freedom of Religion. A Comparative Law Perspective consists of five chapters, looking at freedom of religion, particularly the display of religious symbols, in Poland, Italy, Hungary, and the United States. It provides a concise and very insightful look into the legal regimes of four nations, allowing reader to get a solid comparative view of public religious displays in these countries. Each chapter has sufficient depth and overall this edited volume will be a useful resource to scholars and jurists in this area.
Dr. James C. Phillips, Stanford University’s Constitutional Law Center
The presented volume leads to an in-depth reflection on the issue of the display of religious symbols in the public sphere, which is widely discussed today. Most of the articles prove that secularism of the contemporary state ruled by law targets Christian symbolism (cross, cradle, the Decalogue). Christian religious symbols shall always be inscribed in the temporal order, otherwise they have no chance to be displayed in the public sphere. In this way, the rights of Catholic believers, as one of the dominant religious groups, are restricted in the name of the protection of religious and areligious minorities. As a result, the aim is to bring about the actual equality of all religions and – ultimately – the final removal of the Christian tradition from Western culture. Against this background, Polish (as well as Hungarian and Italian) judicial decisions present a different approach, which – as the authors of the volume prove – presents a position in favour of the presence of religious symbolism in the public sphere. The multifaceted evaluation of the inconsistency, casuistry and nuance of the jurisprudence of the US Supreme Court is extremely creative and interesting. It allows to conclude that the jurisprudence of the US Supreme Court, which usually limits the presence of religious symbols in the public forum, has not yet become universally binding. The pluralism of philosophical and religious attitudes still constitutes the axiological core of American democracy.
Prof. dr hab. Andrzej Dziadzio, Jagiellonian University in Kraków