Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Secularism Without Liberalism: Religious Freedom and Secularism in a Non-Liberal State

38 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2017  

Jaclyn L. Neo

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law; National University of Singapore (NUS) - Centre for Asian Legal Studies (CALS); National University of Singapore (NUS) - Centre for International Law

Date Written: 2017

Abstract

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

Neo, Jaclyn L., Secularism Without Liberalism: Religious Freedom and Secularism in a Non-Liberal State (2017). Michigan State Law Review, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3004301

Jaclyn L.C. Neo (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law ( email )

469G Bukit Timah Road
Eu Tong Sen Building
Singapore, 259776
Singapore

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Centre for Asian Legal Studies (CALS) ( email )

469G Bukit Timah Road
Singapore

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Centre for International Law ( email )

Block B, #02-01
469 Bukit Timah Road
Singapore, 259776
Singapore

Paper statistics

Downloads
13
Abstract Views
108