Comparative Constitutional Law, Democracy, Law and Religion, Religion and Politics, University

Ph.D. Thesis Committee Member For: Barry Bussey, ‘The Legal Revolution Against the Accommodation of Religion: The Secular Age v. The Sexular Age’, 27 June 2019



‘Naar aanleiding en ter ere van zijn promotie zal Bussey op 28 juni een lezing geven over de historische en filosofische achtergrond van vrijheid van religie, en de status van deze vrijheid vandaag de dag binnen het sociale en wettelijke kader van de samenleving. Professor Iain Benson zal ook aanwezig zijn als co-spreker.’ Zie:


Watch the web lecture here:


Read the thesis here:



This is a study about the law’s accommodation of religious practice and the brewing revolution within the legal profession against that accommodation. The revolution is especially evident, though not exclusively so, in sexual equality claims vis-à-vis religion. Originally, the study asked, “Why has religion been given special status in the law?” and “Should that status continue?” As a result of intense, multiyear research, I have come to recognize that there is within the legal profession a strident movement to remove from the law the traditional accommodation of religion. This study likens this phenomenon to a revolution, using Thomas S. Kuhn’s theory of scientific revolutions to analyze this development. This revolution manifested itself in the Trinity Western University law school case. Legal revolutions were contrasted from scientific revolutions in their goals, methodology, and perspectives. These differences are based in the varying values and desired outcomes of each discipline.

It is concluded that the legal revolution against religious accommodation is due to the law’s inability to answer critics of religion who favour sexual equality rights. There is on display a “rights inflation” phenomenon where the demands of equality rights have come to eclipse the legal norm of religious accommodation even in the private sphere. What was once considered private, such as running religious universities, is now viewed as public because of the state’s regulation of such institutions. This is a new phenomenon which threatens every publicly regulated religious enterprise.’

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