Religion also attempts to answer life’s existential questions in comforting, understandable ways. But does this all mean that religion is so mysterious in its nature that it must never be questioned, and that its doctrines take precedence over the laws by which we choose to be governed?
This is the territory Leiter explores in his paper – at least, he explores it to the extent that religion brushes up against secular laws. It is an interesting point of view. We all know people whose religious affiliations have exempted them, from time to time, from duties or obligations that, had they not claimed a particular religious affiliation, they would have been expected to fulfill. And we, for the most part, in the name of freedom of religion, tolerate these exemptions. But why? Why are religious individuals accorded this toleration? And if we cannot answer this question, should we continue, in fact, to tolerate their exemptions, even in the face of no reasonable evidence? Any person who has taken an American history class or studied for his or her citizenship exam is well-acquainted with the Amendment concerning freedom of religion – but perhaps it is now time to re-evaluate the concept. Leiter would have us believe that the re-evaluation is long overdue. He even goes so far as to delineate a difference between toleration and respect. This paper will explore his logic, analyze some of his examples and draw a conclusion as to whether or not he has successfully made his case with regard to tolerating religion.

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