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← The problem in public life isn’t Islam, but religion itself

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 30 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Comment 21 by DanDare

I get a bit disturbed by this use of the term "public sphere". It seems to extend to people chatting about their beliefs in the pub. State Secularism is about governments not having purely religious laws, and not taking sides on religious subjects. By phrasing it as a dichotomy about speaking out about religion and about keeping it private it is making secularism out to be oppressive.

I agree, it is really important that people are clear what they mean by keeping religion out of "public life" or "the public sphere", or that religion is a "private matter". I think this has understandably caused a lot of confusion and anxiety.

I hope that no secularist means that people shouldn't be entirely free to express their religious views in public, it is just that it is inappropriate to impose these views or practices on anyone, (e.g. through publically run institutions, or in any environment where people are not entirely free to ignore them without incurring any disadvantage).

Wed, 22 Feb 2012 16:21:44 UTC | #920779