- Secularism, public reason or moderately agonistic democracy?
- Symposium "Religion and Multicultural Citizenship"
- Book/source title
- Secularism, religion and multicultural citizenship
- Pages (from-to)
- Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
- Document type
- Conference contribution
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
In recent debates on the strained relationship between liberal-democratic states and organised religions, two broad questions are at issue, both politically and theoretically: whether states and religions are, or should be, ‘strictly separated’; and whether states, policies and public reasoning are, or should be, ‘strictly secular’. This chapter addresses the second problem. I will begin by briefly outlining my general opposition to the idea of secularism and why I prefer speaking in terms of, and attaching priority to, liberal democracy instead.My focus, however, will be on the attempt by political liberals to exclude religious reasons from public deliberation and democratic politics. I mean to challenge such attempts, using the work of John Rawls as my main example. I will conclude by considering how my critique points to the need for a sober, moderately agonistic conception of democratic institutions, virtues and practices.
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