Veils, Crucifixes and Public Sphere: What Kind of Secularism? Rethinking Neutrality in a Post-Secular Europe

Journal of Intercultural Studies, Vol. 35, No. 4, 385 May 2014

Posted: 26 Jan 2012 Last revised: 9 Sep 2020

See all articles by Pablo Cristóbal Jiménez Lobeira

Pablo Cristóbal Jiménez Lobeira

Centre for European Studies, Australian National University ; Institute for Ethics & Society, University of Notre Dame Australia

Date Written: April 20, 2013

Abstract

The Lautsi case attracted widespread attention in Europe and beyond. Though the issue in contention was a Christian symbol, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) judgements showed changes in assessment both about religion (in contrast with former cases regarding Muslim veils) and secularism (which did not have the same meaning for everyone). In light of those rulings, this paper reflects on the concepts of neutrality and secularism, and their normative implications for European citizens in terms of sense of belonging, solidarity, and cohesion. An open and plural public sphere, in which intercultural exchange can flourish, is crucial if Europe is serious about the integration of its immigrants, many of whom possess a Muslim background. A “post-secular” Europe may have to reconsider long-held stereotypes about religion, and nuance its self-understanding as “secular,” in a way that religious citizens can identify with Europe too. The discussion will draw on the ideas of Taylor, Casanova, Habermas, Weiler and Beck to illustrate some of the political, ethical and theoretical complexities of the Lautsi case in Italy, specifically issues to do with neutrality, secularism and the role of religion in the public sphere.

Keywords: European citizens, intercultural dialogue, neutrality, public sphere, religion, secularism, secularity, solidarity, Weltanschauungen

Suggested Citation

Jiménez Lobeira, Pablo Cristóbal, Veils, Crucifixes and Public Sphere: What Kind of Secularism? Rethinking Neutrality in a Post-Secular Europe (April 20, 2013). Journal of Intercultural Studies, Vol. 35, No. 4, 385 May 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1648711 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1648711

Pablo Cristóbal Jiménez Lobeira (Contact Author)

Centre for European Studies, Australian National University ( email )

ACT
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://https://politicsir.cass.anu.edu.au/centres/ces

Institute for Ethics & Society, University of Notre Dame Australia ( email )

NSW
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://works.bepress.com/pablo-jimnezlobeira

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