Secularism Without Liberalism: Religious Freedom and Secularism in a Non-Liberal State
38 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2017
Date Written: 2017
It is sometimes thought that non-liberal regimes are inimical to religious freedom, even if secular. This Article argues against this view. It holds that a non-liberal order that does not fully commit to state neutrality, but permits the regulation of and interference with religion, can nonetheless be protective of religious freedom if the secularism that it practices has the following four characteristics:
(1) a rejection of political dominance by any one religious group;
(2) citizenship should not be conditioned on a person’s religious identity;
(3) the recognition of an individual right to religious freedom, even if such a right is not regarded as fundamental; and
(4) a commitment to protect religious freedom as part of the public good.
One such important public good is the peaceful coexistence of religious groups. This Article, then, examines how a commitment to peaceful coexistence could provide some protection to religious freedom and employs Singapore as a key case study to draw out the potential and the limitations of such a secular but non-liberal approach.
Keywords: constitutional law, law and religion, comparative constitutional law, comparative constitutional law and religion
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation