A Secular Globe? The Place of Freedom of Religion in the Westphalian World Order
Lorenzo Zucca, Religious Rights, Ashgate 2015
19 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2014 Last revised: 28 Nov 2014
Date Written: November 6, 2014
This is the introduction of a new collection of essays entitled Religious Rights. This book takes a deliberate global perspective, since religious freedom is presented as the key issue of world order and peace. The central question is the following: what is the role of freedom of religion in the protection and promotion of world order? To shed some light over this question, I present four competing models of world order in relation to their understanding of freedom of religion: US, Asia, Islam and Europe. All four models have a common root in the acceptance of the Westphalian deal that divides the world into discrete nation states, each of which being in charge of its own security that depends amongst other things on the management of religious diversity.
The nation state has had an important role to play in the protection of the world order, and in the management of religion. It is however unclear whether the nation state can continue to have such a central role given that religion escapes national control by playing an increasingly more globalized role, which calls for international, and transnational, responses rather than national ones. Some nation states, such as the US, seem to be keen to export their own model of freedom of religion around the world riding roughshod over cultural differences in relation to the very understanding and centrality of religion. Engaging with freedom of religion at the global level calls for a deep rethinking of the basic categories of religion and the secular. It also calls for a deep rethinking of how is it possible to live together in this world.
Keywords: global law, secularism, religion, freedom of religion, Westphalia, World Order, peace, foreign affairs, Asia, Europe, US, Islam
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