Shabbat and Shattered Dreams: Use of Proportionality in Religious Accommodation Law in Korea

Today, certain aspiring professionals in Korea are unable to take state-administered qualifying examinations due to their religious convictions. The Constitutional Court of Korea has repeatedly refused the request for religious accommodation for holy day observers who are unable to take exams on their original dates. This paper analyzes the series of decisions rejecting the need for such accommodation by focusing on the Court’s use of its main analytical tool – the proportionality principle. These decisions reveal important shortcomings in the Court’s application of the proportionality principle, thus shedding light on how the proportionality principle is applied in the context of Korean constitutional jurisprudence and the resultant deprivation of protection for certain fundamental rights in Korea. The paper then proposes a number of ways to improve the Court’s proportionality analysis and its constitutional reasoning.

Majority Nationalism Laws and the Equal Protection of Minorities: Experimental and Observational Evidence from Israel

Western societies are increasingly enacting majority nationalism laws, intended to strengthen majority culture. We propose that these laws alter public attitudes about the equal protection of minorities and that their impact varies between majorities and minorities. To explore this issue, we examine the impact of Israel’s Nation Law on both the Jewish Majority and Arab minority. Experimental evidence from before the law’s passage reveals that, when the Law is presented as likely to pass, both minority and majority respondents perceive the law as permitting minority discrimination in housing, voting rights, and the labor market. Yet panel and cross-sectional data show that only minority respondents change their perceptions after enactment of the Nation Law: they came to believe that its passage eroded their legal status. These findings expose the political effects of majority nationalism laws, particularly on minorities, and highlight the law’s heterogenous expressive effects.

The coddling of the religious mind: How overaccommodation of religious sensitivities in Europe distorts the true meaning of freedom of religion or belief

In their inspiring and provocative book, ‘The Coddling of the American Mind’, G. Lukianoff and J. Haidt warn about three dangerous ideas which spread through universities, causing problems to young people and, ultimately, to liberal democracies. These ideas, which they call the Great Untruths, are: the Untruth of Fragility, the Untruth of Emotional Reasoning, and the Untruth of Us Versus Them.

Yet, this warning could just as well be addressed to those who call for a wider accommodation of religious sensitivities by the European Court of Human Rights and/or the high courts in the European states. This is particularly common in three types of cases, involving: (1) conscientious objection, (2) blasphemy legislation, and (3) religious dress in a courtroom. In my presentation, I will seek to demonstrate why this direction is inevitably wrong if freedom of religion or belief is to retain its major role as a guarantee of pluralism, indissociable from a democratic society.

Protestant House Churches as Guerrillas: An Illegality Approach to Religious Freedom

This article investigates how unregistered Protestant house churches, legalistically defined as “illegal,” interact with state actors in China’s sociopolitical context. It proposes a “guerrilla” theory of Protestant house churches, explaining how these churches operates guerrilla-like under the illegality model with varying degrees of religious freedom, depending on the tolerance of the authoritarian political authority. The tolerance at one end of the spectrum may lead to a politically reciprocal collusion between the law enforcement authority and house church, while on the other end, this arrangement may be broken by subsequent repressive measures that work to dismantle the church; this is particularly likely when a church’s high-profile engagement in the public sphere challenges the ideological dominance of the Chinese Communist Party’s Marxist atheism, in spite of any international connections and support that may be a consideration for the government’s decision-making.