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Document Type

Symposium

Abstract

(Excerpt)

One of the most interesting aspects of this generally very interesting book was the discussion of sexual morality in paganism and Christianity. I have thought for a while that much of the contemporary debate about religious freedom is not about religious freedom in a generic sense but instead about religious freedom in a very particular context—sex. But that is a descriptive point—much more challenging is trying to give an account of why sex should have come to be (or as Smith’s argument implies, has long been) the battlefield on which much of the fight over religious freedom takes place. My offhand thought in these remarks is that our debates about religious freedom would benefit from a more sustained engagement with this seemingly odd feature of our late modern age—that the fragile consensus around religious toleration in modernity has started to come undone over sexuality—and the deeper reasons for it.

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