A Framework For Discussing The Compatibility of Institutional Religious Establishment with Political Secularism
Secularism as a political doctrine claims that religion and politics should be separated. The compatibility question is whether secularism can accept some forms of religious establishment in the form of institutional linkages between state and organised religion. I argue that the answer to the compatibility question is not obvious and requires a systematic analysis of secularism. Based on a distinction between a general concept and specific conceptions of secularism I offer a general structure for conceptions of secularism that incorporates both a) basic values, e.g. political equality and freedom of conscience, b) intermediate political principles of separation, e.g. rights to religious liberty, and c) derived normative prescriptions, e.g. that an established church is unacceptable. I illustrate the structure using the conceptions of secularism advocated by Robert Audi and by Charles Taylor and Jocelyn Maclure. Given this general structure, the normative implications of secularism, e.g. for the compatibility question, depend on how the basic values and political principles are specified. Different understandings of the basic values yield different conditions for compatibility. Some conceptions of secularism are therefore compatible with some forms of religious establishment. I illustrate the use of the framework for discussion of particular establishment cases and how the framework provides a structure for the normative discussion about which conception of secularism to accept.
Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche, 2013, Vol 3, Issue 2, p. 119-157
Sekularisme; religion og politik; stat og kirke; Lautsi; religionsfrihed; religiøse symboler; secularism; politics and religion; church and state; freedom of religion; religious symbols