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Liberalism’s Limits: Religious Exemptions and Hate Speech

International conference

Friday 8th July 2022
9:00 – 11:30 (public session), Aula Giubileo
11:45 – 17:30 (workshops by invitation)*, Aula Pia
LUMSA University
Via di Porta Castello 44 - Rome

The Department of Law, Economics and Languages (GEPLI) at LUMSA University (Rome) and the Center for Law and Religion at St. John's University (New York) continue the scientific collaboration begun in 2012 with the international conference "State-Sponsored Religious Displays in the U.S. and Europe".
The two Universities present the international conference "Liberalism's Limits: Religious Exemption and Hate Speech”, scheduled for 8 July 2022 at the Giubileo Complex of the LUMSA University, via di Porta Castello 44, Rome.

Liberal democracies historically have prized autonomy and freedom as fundamental political commitments. In doing so, they also have emphasized the individual’s freedom of religion and freedom of speech as sitting at the core of their political systems. Yet in religious exemption — the right of individuals to receive an accommodation from complying with generally applicable law on the basis of religious scruple — and in what some in these polities call “hate speech” – speech conveying deeply insulting, vilifying, discriminatory views against a target group –  liberal regimes face serious challenges to their own core principles. This conference examines the problems posed by these issues for the continuing viability of liberalism in Western democracies.
The conference is divided into two parts: a public session in the Aula Giubileo introduced by the reports of:

  • Cesare Mirabelli, emeritus professor of ecclesiastical law and president emeritus of the Constitutional Court
  • Chantal Delsol, philosopher, political historian and writer, member of the Académie de France.

The work will resume with three workshops by invitation (Aula Pia):

  • Liberalism’s limits: 11.45 - 13.15.
    The panel will examine broader issues that religious exceptions and hate speech raise with respect to liberalism.
    Moderator Marc O. DeGirolami (St. John's University).
    Presenters: Richard Ekins (Oxford University - GBR), Jeffrey Pojanowski (Notre Dame University - USA), Kevin Walsh (Catholic University of America - USA).
  • Religious exemptions: 14.15 - 15.45.
    The panel will examine specific examples of exemptions that pluralistic culture grants to individuals with different religious affiliations.
    Moderator: Mark L. Movsesian (St. John's University).
    Presenters: Stephanie Barclay (Notre Dame University - USA), Paolo Cavana (LUMSA University), Gayane Davidyan (Moscow State University - RUS), Javier Martínez-Torrón (Universidad Complutense - ESP), Angelo Rinella (LUMSA University).
  • Hate Speech: 16.00 - 17.30.
    The panel will focus on hate speech from the perspective of international law and as a problem for liberalism in pluralistic culture.
    Moderator Monica Lugato (LUMSA University).
    Presenters: Adelaide Madera (University of Messina), Marco Olivetti (LUMSA University), Andrea Pin (University of Padua) and Steven Smith (University of San Diego - USA).

The conference uses a simultaneous translation service in English, French and Italian.

Scientific Committee and conference organizers:

*Those interested in participating to the wokshops by invitation may request by contacting one of the organizers (above).

The poster