Friday, November 18, 2005

Secularism is not meek

Srdjan suggests that we should view secularism as a 'status quo' more than a worldview. I find the distinction interesting, but I can't help thinking that status quo provides a meek depiction of what secularism is all about.

Possibly, we attribute too many tasks to secularism. Its meaning is overcharged and, as a result, ofen flawed. If this is Srdjan's point, then I partly agree.

But coming from Italy, I believe I have a very sensitive interpretation of secularism. In Italy, the Vatican plays a very aggressive role in the public sphere while pretending to give humble advices. In other words, the Vatican is the Lion in the sheep skin.

If to that we only oppose a meek view of secularism, then we leave too much discretion to the Lion who plays the sheep. As I said many times before, Secularism should be placed in a constallation of laique values that must be able to provide reasons against the intrusion of religious moralities in the public sphere.

So, to come back to the decision of the European Court of Human Rights, I think that the result reached by the court is satisfactory, although the reasons to get there are not. The court uses secularism as an ethical compromise between liberty and equality. Instead, I believe that secularism should merely be asserted as a value standing beside liberty insofar that it puts pressure on public religious institution to withdraw the pressure in the public sphere. If an individual, however, feels as a private individual, and not a public officer, to bring out to the public part of his/her religious identity, this should be permitted as a rule.

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