Online journal (
Online from january 2007

Normativa “anti estremismo” e libertà religiosa nella Federazione Russa. Il caso dei Testimoni di Geova - ​ Germana Carobene

SOMMARIO: 1. Gli interventi contro i Testimoni di Geova nella Federazione Russa - 2. La presenza storica dei Testimoni di Geova nel Paese - 3. La libertà religiosa nella normativa dell’Unione Sovietica - 4. Le leggi sulla libertà di coscienza degli anni ’90 - 5. La legislazione “anti estremismo” e antiterrorismo - 6. Considerazioni conclusive.

“Anti-extremism” Legislation and Religious Freedom in the Russian Federation. The case of Jehovah's Witnesses

ABSTRACT: The application of "anti-extremism" legislation to minority religious groups in the Russian Federation has led to a progressive institutional tightening of the persecution and heavy discrimination, especially against Jehovah's Witnesses. Although many of these legislative instruments have existed for over a decade, the Russian government has only recently begun to use them in sustained campaigns designed to punish or exclude "non-traditional" religions and movements. In the specific case of Jehovah's Witnesses, these measures have taken on the purpose of delegitimising an entire community, solely because of the religious faith being persecuted, with accusations ranging from missionary activity to offending the religious feelings of believers. Overall, these interventions are part of a wider process of ideological control over society, aimed at curbing, if not stifling, the forces of political and religious dissent. It is well known that secularism is based on two fundamental principles: the inviolability of human rights, which constitute the prodrome of political power and therefore of the State, and, secondly, the importance of a culture and institutions that guarantee the effectiveness of pluralism. The analysis of the Russian history is, in this sense, an important perspective because it calls into question the European model of recognition and guarantee of religious pluralism.

Download in PDF format

Gloria e miseria della teologia politica - ​ Sergio Ferlito

SOMMARIO: 1. Breve storia di un storia lunga - 2. La teologia giuridica di Hans Kelsen - 3. La teologia politica di Carl Schmitt - 4. Intermezzo - 5. Il lascito di Schmitt - 6. Il dito e la luna - 7. La religione del valore di Ronald Dworkin - 8. Una conclusione, … per iniziare.

Glory and misery about political theology

ABSTRACT. This paper deals with the interactions between religions and law. In particular, it analyses and discusses Kelsen’s, Schmitt’s, and Dworkin’s theories on legal and/or political theology. Although in different ways, these authors have well perceived a large number of links between religion and law; nevertheless their conceptions about religion are narrow and remains strictly Christian-centred. A wider concept of religion - as it has been conceptualized by anthropological and social studies - could reveals how many religious concepts underlie legal systems all over the world, and how much (Christian) religion is masked even in western secular law and institutions.

Download in PDF format

Some preliminary remarks on the impact of COVID-19 on the exercise of religious freedom in the United States and Italy - ​ Adelaide Madera

Summary: 1. Introduction - 2. Italian legal responses to COVID-19: the Italian constitutional and legal framework on religious freedom - 3. The suspension of religious assemblies during phase one of the pandemic - 4. A “cautious resumption” of religious gatherings during the phase two in Italy - 5. U.S. legal responses to COVID-19: U.S. constitutional and legal framework about religious freedom - 6. The legal patchwork because of the pandemic - 7. Judicial balance between individual liberties and the preservation of health - 8. Litigation in lower courts about the exercise of religious freedom during Covid-19 - 9 New creative ways of worshipping in Covid-19 times: drive-in religious services - 10. Third-party burdens and the successful nondiscrimination approach - 11. Department of Justice statements - 12 Supreme Court intervention in temporary state restrictions on religious assemblies - 13. “Religious America” and “secular” Italy during Covid-19 phase one - 14. Management of religious freedom during the pandemic and the lack or presence of a statute governing religious freedom - 15. Effect of the pandemic on the question of whose religious freedom should be protected - 16. Guaranteeing a fair level of religious accommodation during a pandemic - 17. Enhanced need to balance the exercise of religious freedom with third-party harm during a pandemic - 18. Impact of the pandemic on the exercise of religious freedom in the long term.

ABSTRACT: The so-called lockdown, imposed to restrain (or at least limit) the spread of COVID-19, has, in the over four seemingly endless months since it started, had an overwhelming impact not only on our personal lives, but also on domestic regulatory frameworks. Legal systems responded individually, and with differences to the pandemic emergency, ranging from a complete interruption of the collective exercise of religious worship (Italy), to a more cautious recognition of forms of religious accommodation (United States). The present paper compares the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the exercise of religious freedom in the United States and the Italian legal contexts, and investigates how the pandemic crisis emphasized underlying judicial, political, sociocultural, and economic challenges, giving rise to a tension between competing rights and exacerbating concerns about the “special” role of religion. As the COVID situation is changing so rapidly in the United States, in Italy, and around the world, I clarify that the information in the present paper relates at the situation as at the end of June 2020.

Download in PDF format

The Development of Laws and Jurisprudence in Islam: Religious and Imperial Legacies - ​ Gloria M. Morán García

SUMMARY: 1. Scholar challenges and epistemological pitfalls - 2. Traditional Muslim hermeneutics and the development of schools of Jurisprudence - 3. Jurist’s authority and ruler’s governance from a comparative perspective - 4. Muslim legal tradition of plural jurisdictions - 5. The open scholar question of reciprocal legal influences with other juridical systems - 6. Conclusive remarks.

ABSTRACT: This article analyzes several open scholar debates regarding the Muslim legal system, from the conventional narrative of its formation and the triumph of the Traditionalist movement to the disputed question of reciprocal legal influences with other religious and secular juridical systems. This research tries to avoid two epistemological risks: first, the dangers of a simplistic binary debate like traditionalists v. revisionists, religious v. secular, or even Sunnis v. Shiite reducing the analysis to an ideologically polarized and ineffective dispute; and second, the improper use of juridical neologisms applied to the Islamic legal system, mainly from codified European continental law and English common law as a result of the Orientalist, colonialist, and secularist mentalities that, instead clarification create confusion. From a hermeneutical point of view, two characteristics to keep in mind: 1) the notion of divine law and its legal implications; and 2) the relationship between law and theology that is not correlative to the connection between secular legislation and ideology. From a comparative point of view, three challenging questions to address: 1) the distinction between Usul al-fiqh and Usul al-qanun often blurred in practice showing the complexities of the relationship among religious, legal, and political structures under Muslim ruling; 2) the intertwined relationship among Sharia, fiqh, and siyasa with pre-Islamic administrative, legal, and judicial traditions; 3) Jurisdictional pluralism in the Islamic legal practice concerning non-Muslim minorities.

Download in PDF format

Il cardinale Gasparri, Francesco Saverio Nitti e la basilica di Santa Sofia - ​ Giovanni B. Varnier

Venerdì 24 luglio 2020 la Turchia, o meglio il suo premier Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, ha riaperto al culto islamico il simbolo stesso di Istanbul rappresentato dal complesso monumentale di Santa Sofia. Una vicenda triste per la civiltà, che vede un gioiello artistico di valore universale piegato al nazionalismo religioso. Per la verità l’edificio non è nuovo ai cambi d’uso, come non lo sono altri manufatti di pregio che hanno attraversato i secoli, ma in questo caso non si tratta di un nuovo utilizzo ma di un ritorno al tempo della dominazione ottomana.  Tuttavia, questo non è un ritorno alle origini, perché - come sappiamo - Santa Sofia, costruita per l’imperatore Giustiniano in soli cinque anni dal 532 al 537, è considerata il capolavoro della nuova architettura basilicale bizantina quale espressione della “romanità cristiana e universale della cultura giustinianea”.

Cardinal Gasparri, Francesco Saverio Nitti and the basilica of Hagia Sophia

In reference to the current events that see the return to the destination for Islamic worship of the ancient Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, a Vatican document of the years immediately after the First World War is recalled which presents positions opposite to those prevalent today.

Download in PDF format

Un panorama sullo stato laico e sulle sue implicazioni nel modello brasiliano - ​ Natammy L. de Aguiar Bonissoni

SOMMARIO: 1. Introduzione - 2. La religione e la vita nella società - 3. Quello che il principio di laicità non è - 4. Lo Stato laico brasiliano - 5. Considerazioni finali.

The secular State and its implications on the brazilian model

ABSTRACT: For many years Law and Religion were subjects considered unnecessary by some, and, by others, analyzed with reservations and featured as a not legal topic. However, both of the matters has become important issues in the political, legal and social discussions, especially during political campaign, when moral, ethical and religious issues are brought to debate. Although many countries, as Brasil - for example, have been disussing the subject, the numerous and different interfaces between them, most of the time do not take into consideration the constitutional foundations, axiological and cultural values, and pasrticularly the spiritual aspect of the human being as the structuring of human life. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to clarify the conceptual unfolding of the Principle of Secularity and the characterization of the Secular State in Brazil, with the aim of demonstrating that the Brazilian model of Secularity does not mean the absence of religiosity in the public sphere, but the guarantee and safeguard all your expressions.

Download in PDF format

I “nuovi accordi” Stato-confessioni in Italia tra bilateralità necessaria e diffusa - ​ Fortunato Freni

SOMMARIO: 1. La bilateralità “necessaria” e i suoi limiti - 2. Le intese apicali e il generale regime di libertà religiosa - 3. Le intese paraconcordatarie e la delegificazione - 4. La bilateralità “diffusa” e le intese ulteriori - 5. Le differenti bilateralità: una questione di metodo?

The "new agreements" State - religious denominations between necessary bilateralism and broad bilateralism

ABSTRACT: The paper analyzes the system of sources of Italian ecclesiastical law in its two pillars of agreed rules and unilateral rules. The former are necessarily the result of an agreement between different legal systems because they govern the specific relations between the State and individual religious denominations, that is, between sovereign and autonomous entities in their respective orders. The unilateral rules, on the other hand, fall under State jurisdiction because they aim to regulate rights and procedures relating to the generic freedom of conscience of believers, non-believers and other believers. Nevertheless, even in this second area, bilateralism between the State and ethical-religious groups is increasingly being practiced. However, this must not strictly condition State autonomy in the political order, but must aim to enhance the democratic tool of dialogue, as broad as possible, between institutions and intermediate bodies. The two forms of bilateralism (the necessary one and the broad one) are in fact structured within the processes which grant ethical-religious issues varied legal forms and give rise to different types of sources. It is essential that institutional practice does not artfully confuse the two described "bilateralisms", ending up surreptitiously managing all the heterogeneous and plural ethical-religious factor through a single, heavy and comfortable, bureaucratic method based on mere political discretionality.

Download in PDF format

Normativa anti Covid vs. Free Exercise Clause nella giurisprudenza della Corte Suprema USA: un ritorno alla dottrina della “neutralità” nell’interpretazione dei principi costituzionali in materia religiosa? - ​ Angelo Licastro

SOMMARIO: 1. L’intervento della Suprema Corte federale americana in tema di compatibilità della normativa emergenziale con la Free Exercise Clause - 2. I termini della questione originariamente sollevata e la pronunzia del giudice di primo grado - 3. L’appello dinanzi alla Corte del Nono Circuito e l’opinione dissenziente del giudice Collins - 4. Il problema della costituzionalità delle misure restrittive incidenti sulla libertà di culto nei contrapposti orientamenti seguiti dalle Corti inferiori - 5. Gli argomenti posti a fondamento del ricorso alla Corte Suprema - 6. La contrapposizione tra judicial deference e lettura rigorosamente neutrale dei termini della vicenda portata all’esame dei giudici - 7. Una riproposizione dei canoni di stretta neutralità anche nell’interpretazione dei principi costituzionali in materia religiosa? - 8. Notazioni conclusive.

Anti-Covid Law vs. Free Exercise Clause in US Supreme Court Case Law: is it a Return to the Doctrine of “Neutrality” in the Interpretation of Religious Clauses of the First Amendment?

ABSTRACT: The paper analyzes the question of wheter the Stay-at-Home Order and the Reopening Plan that were issued by the State of California to combat the Covid-19 pandemic discriminate against places of worship in violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. In South Bay United Pentecostal Church vs. Newsom, the Supreme Court of the United States upholds California’s guidelines for places of worship that limit religious worship services to 25% of a building’s capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, because similar restrictions apply to comparable secular gatherings.

Download in PDF format

L’edilizia di culto regionale (di nuovo) alla prova della giurisprudenza amministrativa e costituzionale - ​ Stefano Montesano

SOMMARIO: 1. Premessa - 2. I giudizi promossi dal TAR Lombardia. Alcune riflessioni - 3. La decisione del TAR Lombardia. La fondatezza “anticipata” - 4. Il caso davanti alla Corte costituzionale: la sentenza n. 254 del 2019 - 5. Il new deal dell’art. 19 Cost. e della laicità ”positiva” per via giurisprudenziale (costituzionale). Brevi considerazioni.

Regional Religious Building. Legal Approach to the test of (again) administrative and constitutional case-law.

ABSTRACT: This essay concerns important judgements of the Regional Administrative Court and the Italian Constitutional Court on religious freedom and places of worship.

Download in PDF format

Deus ex machina. Intelligenza artificiale e libertà religiosa nel sistema costituzionale degli Stati Uniti - ​ Luca P. Vanoni

SOMMARIO: 1. Intelligenza artificiale, singolarità tecnologica e diritti umani: uno sguardo nel futuro - 2. Quale religione? Alla ricerca di una definizione costituzionalmente orientata - 3. Transumanesimo, tecnoscienza e religione: una relazione pericolosa? - 4. Non avrai altro Dio al di fuori di AI: Way of the Future e il culto del Dio-computer - 5. (segue) Il transumanesimo a scuola - 6. (segue) Religion or not? La libertà religiosa dei fedeli di Way of the Future - 7. Anche gli androidi sognano divinità elettriche? La libertà religiosa dei robots - 8. Conclusioni: giorni di un futuro passato.

Deus ex Machina. Artificial Intelligence and Religious Freedom in the US Constitutional framework

ABSTRACT: The raise of the digital age and the developments of Artificial Intelligence is stressing the historical and complicate relationship between science, religion and law. Concepts like technological singularity or transhumanism are rapidly changing this relationship, and a growing number of scientists are now openly describing technological progress in religious terms or even establishing new religions and churches dedicated to the worship of Artificial Intelligence. This cultural and technological revolution is raising up new legal questions: are the traditional legal definition of “Religion” and “Churches” still addressing the challenge raised by new religions based on the worship of AI? Will the Transhumanism change the legal definition of person and his religious rights? Will robots have religious rights under the law? The aim of the paper is to investigate those questions within the of the US Constitutional framework.

Download in PDF format