Unity of the Graveyard and the Attack on Constitutional Secularism
24 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2004
Once it is conceded that a political structure defined by religious principles will exclude those who do not choose to adopt those principles, then there is little left in the search for religious unity. If cultural and political unity is a desirable goal, therefore, we must search for a secular alternative to the religious unity model. I sketch the outlines of two such secular options in this essay. One, which I will term the affirmative case for constitutional secularism, takes as its starting point the essential functions of a democracy, and uses those essential functions as the lodestar for political unity. The second, darker model, which I will term the negative case for constitutional secularism, is based on the indisputable recognition that the very factors that make religion exclusive and disunifying are also the factors that can lead diverse groups of religious adherents to give up their quest for unity through dominance in exchange for a guarantee of survival. After exploring in a bit more detail the nature of religious exclusivity, I turn to the a fuller explanation of the two options for achieving real - i.e., secular - national unity.
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