Hans-Martien ten Napel
Leiden University Law School

‘To Be Fully Human’: Religious Freedom, Faith-Based Organizations and the State

Project description:

Perhaps the deepest motivation, from a Christian-ethical perspective, to defend the right to religious freedom is that it creates room for all to be fully human. Today, however, it has become a human right under pressure globally and that includes the West. In both Europe and the United States, one particularly pressing question is to what extent the associational and institutional dimensions of religious freedom continue to be protected, in addition to the clearly still crucial individual aspects. In focusing on the more communal aspects of religious freedom, as recognized in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, the proposed project aims to address at least three questions central to the inquiry by the Center: do religions sustain their own distinctive ideas of religious freedom, what forms of public activity (worship, education, charity, etc.) are essential to religious life and how does the right to religious freedom relate to other rights, notably equality?


Hans-Martien ten Napel is an Associate Professor of Constitutional Law at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Since 2008, he has also been a senior researcher at the School of Human Rights Research. Before his transfer to the Law Faculty, he taught at the Department of Political Science, and was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University. In 2013 a research proposal he co-authored with historian James Kennedy, entitled ‘Religion Renegotiated: Faith-Based Organizations and the State in the Netherlands Since the 1960s', was granted a major subsidy by the Dutch Association for Scientific Research.