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This paper considers a set of English child welfare cases in order to explore judicial representations of non-Christianness. Drawing upon insights contained in feminist, critical race, and postcolonial theory, we make two main arguments. First, we argue that judges deploy three distinct yet overlapping approaches to understanding non-Christianness: (1) as belief and ritual practice; (2) as racial genetic marker; and (3) as culture and personal identity. Secondly, we argue that, within these judicial texts, a way of thinking can be identified that is, at times, orientalist, racialised, and Christian. We further argue that this way of thinking plays into contemporary debates about ‘western values' and ‘civilisational missions'.
This work provides commentary, checklists, procedural guides and precedents on the subject in a...