Home > Uncategorized > Being Neutral Is Oh So Hard to Do – Opinionator Blog – NYTimes.com

Being Neutral Is Oh So Hard to Do – Opinionator Blog – NYTimes.com

The distinction between belief and conduct, the very basis of formal neutrality, is not itself neutral because it favors religions (like the Protestantism John Locke explicates in his Letter Concerning Toleration, 1689) that are centered on the personal relationship between adherents and the God they believe in, and disfavors religions that require, and regard as a non-detachable extension of belief, the performance of specific forms of behavior.

That is to say, the belief/conduct distinction, a close relative of the mind/body distinction and the private/public distinction, itself embodies a very specific viewpoint (one the government is not entitled to have or enforce) concerning just what a religious belief is, and as such it discriminates against religions that do not respect, indeed cannot respect, the belief/conduct distinction…

What is the “educational experience” envisioned in this statement? It turns out, in Ginsburg’s view, to be the experience of an environment that encourages the “development of conflict-resolution skills, toleration, and readiness to find a common ground.”

Now that is a “reasonable” list of educational goals, but it is not the only one. Another might be an educational experience that encourages fidelity to correct behavior as defined by some religion or system of morality, an experience devoted less to the finding of common ground than to the finding of, and hewing to, truth.

I am not saying that this latter view of education’s purposes — the view held by the Christian Legal Society — should be the official view of the law school. I am saying that no view of education’s purposes, as long it is contestable (and they all are), should be the official view of the law school.

via Being Neutral Is Oh So Hard to Do – Opinionator Blog – NYTimes.com.

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