The work of scholars in critical religion may indeed concentrate on the semantics of 'religion', but this is far from being 'merely' an academic issue, points out Gabrielle Desmarais from the University of Ottawa. The meaning of the word 'religion' and the language used to regulate that definition are at the forefront of a range of constitutional cases about new religious movements.
The Christian thinktank Ekklesia, which looks at how beliefs and values can reshape policy and action on public issues, is co-sponsoring an innovative conference on ‘alternative economics’ and has just published a briefing on the UK legal justice as it effects poor countries.
In February 2012, the Court of Appeal upheld an earlier ruling that B&B owners acted unlawfully when they turned away a gay couple. Some have claimed that this is putting protection against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation above religious rights. But this is a false distinction.