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Abstract

Issues of religious toleration might be thought dead and advocacy of religious toleration a pointless exercise in preaching to the converted, at least in most contemporary European societies. This paper challenges that view. It does so principally by focusing on issues of religious accommodation as these arise in contemporary multi-faith societies. Drawing on the cases of exemption, Article 9 of the ECHR, and law governing indirect religious discrimination, it argues that issues and instances of accommodation are issues and instances of toleration. Special attention is given to issues that arise when the claims of religious belief conflict with those of other legally protected characteristics, especially sexual orientation. The paper uses a concept of toleration appropriate to a liberal democratic political order—one that replaces the ‘vertical’ ruler-to-subject model of toleration that suited early modern monarchies with a ‘horizontal’ citizen-to-citizen model appropriate to a political order that aims to uphold an ideal of toleration rather than itself extend toleration to those whose lives it regulates.