Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Philpott on laicite, religious freedom, Europe, and Islam

This piece, by my friend and colleague Dan Philpott, at the Arc of the Universe blog (which is run by Notre Dame's Center for Civil and Human Rights) and the Cornerstone blog of the Berkley Center, is definitely worth a read.  Among other things, the piece engages critically and carefully Joan Wallach Scott's book, The Politics of the Veil(2007).  Here's a bit:

While Scott’s criticisms of France’s laïcité are on the mark, then, her post-modern democracy of difference fails to yield sustainable norms of religious inclusion. Is there a principle that both preserves the core values of liberal democracy and allows religious people to participate and practice their faith robustly within liberal democracy? Coming back to Europe’s Muslims, is there a basis for the principled inclusion of Muslim minorities in European democracies?  A strong candidate for such a principle is religious freedom. Ensconced in the global human rights conventions as well as the European human rights architecture, religious freedom has a strong claim to universality. The beauty of this principle is that it both comports with the European heritage of liberal principles and allows Muslims wide latitude to express and practice their religion, including dressing consonantly with their religious beliefs. Religious freedom means the right of women to don a headscarf in France and to doff one in Iran. It also means that religious people may advocate political positions according to their convictions. 

Read the whole thing!


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