Religious Symbols and Secular Government
24 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2012
Date Written: September 17, 2012
That a “secular” government should not sponsor religious expressions may seem almost like an analytic truth. And yet in practice, liberal democratic governments often support religious symbols and expressions. So, are governments that purport to be secular and yet support religious symbols or expressions just being hypocritical, or incoherent? This essay, written for a conference on “Freedom from Religion” held in Tel Aviv in December 2011, considers three different versions of secularity – what I call the “classical,” “comprehensive,” and “agnostic” versions – and concludes that none of these versions forbids religious expressions by “secular” governments.
Keywords: First Amendment, Establishment Clause, Religion, Constitutional Law
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation