(Non)Religious Freedom: A Critical Perspective on the Contemporary Understanding of Freedom of Conscience and Religion


  • Rafał Prostak Kraków University of Economics




liberty of conscience, tolerance, neutrality


Nowadays, liberty of conscience as an inalienable right is a standard of demoliberal constitutionalism. It is an obvious component of a well-organized society and state. However, at the very beginning of its presence in the political discourse, it was more a product of Christian theology (the free conscience perceived as a gift of God) than a legal category; more an endowment of divinity than an intrinsic human value. In the contemporary, secularized world, our understanding of freedom of religion includes not only free exercise of religion but also freedom from religion. An increasing number of non-believers changes our expectations of the state that is obliged to protect the freedom of conscience of all citizens regardless of their beliefs. The goal of the article is to consider the difficulties faced by people with a theistic worldview in the reality of a state founded on the principle of ideological neutrality.


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Author Biography

Rafał Prostak, Kraków University of Economics

Ph.D. in political science; head of the Department of International Relations at the Cracow University of Economics (UEK). Research interests: contemporary American political thought; international systems of human rights protection; constitutional protection of freedom of religion in the USA. Author of three books: Rzecz o sprawiedliwości: komunitarystyczna krytyka współczesnego liberalizmu amerykańskiego (On Justice: The Communitarian Critique of Contemporary American Liberalism), Kraków 2004; Teista w demoliberalnym świecie: rzecz o amerykańskich rozważaniach wokół rozumnej polityki (A Theist in the Demo-liberal World: On American Considerations around Rational Politics), Kraków 2014; Ogród murem oddzielony od pustyni. Relacje Kościół-państwo, wolność sumienia i tolerancja religijna w myśli pierwszych baptystów (The Garden Separated from the Wilderness: The Church-State Relations, Freedom of Conscience, and Religious Tolerance in the Thought of the First Baptists), Warszawa 2020.


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How to Cite

Prostak, Rafał. 2021. “(Non)Religious Freedom: A Critical Perspective on the Contemporary Understanding of Freedom of Conscience and Religion”. Politeja 18 (2(71):183-202. https://doi.org/10.12797/Politeja.18.2021.71.10.