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Minority religions, litigation, and the prevention of harm

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 18:31 authored by Douglas EzzyDouglas Ezzy
Religious anti-discrimination legislation institutionalises non-violent ways of living with radical difference associated with religious diversity. The need to govern the growing number of conflicts generated by increasingly pluralistic societies is a major reason governments have introduced a range of new laws relating to religion. These laws are important not only because they protect human rights, which they do, but also because they shape social processes that generate extreme harms such as mass murder and the sexual abuse of minors. A detailed examination of three case studies of minority religions illustrates this argument. The histories of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints and The Family demonstrate that the socio-cultural processes that result in sexual abuse in minority religions are similar to the processes that result in extreme violence and that litigation plays a key role in preventing the escalation of these processes, although it is of a post hoc nature. The case of the Ordo Templi Orientis demonstrates that religious anti-discrimination legislation proactively disrupts the sociocultural processes that lead to the escalation of tension that results in serious forms of harm.


Publication title

Journal of Contemporary Religion








School of Social Sciences



Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

© 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Religion and society

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