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GOVT-504 Law & Religion Seminar: Accomodating the Liberty of Conscience
Spring for 2015-2016
  • Kessler, Michael
  • Should a health care professional be able to refuse to deliver services
    or medicines they deem to be immoral, such as abortion or birth control
    pills? Should laws permitting same-sex unions include accommodations for
    businesses and government officials to be able to refuse to participate
    in the union? Should parents who object to public school curricula on
    grounds of faith be allowed to selectively withdraw their children from
    particular classes or curricular assignments? What is the moral and
    legal sources of such "rights of conscience"? In this seminar, we will
    examine the theoretical arguments about conscience-based claims to
    exemption from legal obligation in moral and political theory,
    theological ethics, and legal theory, and we will study the works of
    recent theorists concerning the wisdom and viability of conscience-based
    exemptions in the law. We will also explore the historical and recent
    landscape of legal cases and proposed legislative schemes involving
    conscientious objector status, medical services (e.g., abortion,
    sterilization, fertility, removal of life support), homeschooling and
    same-sex marriage.

    Students may not receive credit for both this seminar and Church-State
    Law Seminar; or Religion and Law Seminar; or Religious Liberty on Trial:
    Defining Rights, Defining Limits.
    Credits: 2
    Prerequisites: None
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    Georgetown University37th and O Streets, N.W., Washington D.C. 20057(202) 687.0100

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