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Publication date: Oct 10, 2011 10:16 AM
Feb 10, 2012 12:00 AM
End: Feb 10, 2012 12:00 AM
Workshop 2: Constitutional and Philosophical Dimensions
10 February 2012
10 February 2012
Introduction: Inquiries into the History and Present of Religious Accommodation
That the ‘Godless institution in Gower Street’ should be contemplating religion at all some might think likely to disturb the shades of its original founders. They would be wrong since the founders would be the first to recognise that the important thing is not to attitudinise about religion but to understand it. Regardless of the veracity of individual religions’ claims to truth, religion has not only shaped cultures in the past but continues also as a powerful force in all human societies.
The focus of this series of four workshops is how religions and the societies in which they live accommodate themselves to each other. These interactions have a long history, many dimensions, and can be approached in different ways. The first workshop, (23 November 2011) Negotiating Religion – European Legacies, European Challenges, was introduced by a paper by Professor Albert Weale. Starting from Pascal’s observation that the heart has its reasons which reason itself cannot know, the paper examined whether a suitable demythologised account of religious language offered an alternative response to the dilemma of religious pluralism. It concluded that this was both necessary and feasible in a situation where it is not possible to settle all questions of public values within the scope of, for example, a Rawlsian public reason.
The workshop went on to consider the shared characteristics of secular and religious rationalities (Professor D’Avray), how very different religions co-existed in European borderlands (Professor Kaplan), and two eighteenth century cases of failed and successful accommodation – Protestant expulsion from Salzburg in 1732 and a rescinded expulsion of the Jews from Prague in 1744 (Francois Guesnet). Professor Hackett examined a recusant Catholic circle in 17th century England from the point of view how a community which stood outside the official state religion maintained its identity. A concluding round table of the participants – with addition of Dr Bouteri (KCL), a Moroccan social anthropologist - reflected on the discussions. More information here.
Workshop 2: Accommodating Religious Communities in Contemporary Europe - Constitutional and Philosophical Dimensions
This workshop will examine the character of the contemporary European state in its relation with religions and religious pluralism, and the general policies developed by states to address religious affairs. With an increasing diversity in attitudes towards religious commitments manifest in today’s Europe, liberal democratic governments are increasingly under pressure to define how they should accommodate their citizens qua religious believers or non-believers. The key questions which the state – in principle regarded perhaps by most as a secular and neutral authority – faces regard the extent to which policies are to address religious communities and their demands. How are majority religions – established churches – enshrined within constitutional settlements and what implications does that have for the secularist attributes of modern European states? Is a minimum common denominator of liberal toleration of all religions sufficient? Can the state truly aspire to a universally accepted neutrality or will its secularity be regarded by the religious as fundamentally hostile to religions whatever is claimed to the contrary? Should the state attribute special rights to religious groups, particularly where they are minority communities facing assimilationist pressures, or grant formal recognition to them?
Sessions will examine the phenomenon of church establishment in Europe generally (John Madeley, LSE) and in the UK in particular (Bob Morris, UCL, with discussants Jim Beckford, Warwick, and Lucian Leustean, Aston), and how far multiple religious jurisdictions may be tolerated (Gillian Douglas, Cardiff, with discussants Mark Hill QC and Frank Cranmer, Durham).
Concentrating on the philosophical and legal dimensions will be sessions considering how far liberal democratic states can and/or ought to follow policies of religious neutrality (Lorenzo Zucca, KCL and Saladin Meckled-Garcia, with Ronan McCrea, UCL, as discussant), and how far religious exemptions may be justified (Stuart White, Oxford, and Jonathan Seglow, Royal Holloway, with discussant Jonathan Quong, Manchester).
|10.00-11.15||Six degrees of separation? Variants of religious establishment in Europe|
Mr John Madeley (LSE), Dr Robert Morris (UCL)
Professor Jim Beckford (Warwick), Dr Lucian Leustean (Aston)
||Testing the Limits: Religion and Constitutional Neutrality|
Dr Lorenzo Zucca (King’s College London)
‘Exploring the Neutrality Dilemma’
Dr Saladin Meckled-Garcia (UCL)
‘What is Just Establishment?’
||Dr Ronan McCrea (UCL)|
||Professor Cécile Laborde (UCL)|
Justifying Religious Exemptions
Dr Stuart White (Oxford University)
‘Religious Exemptions: An Egalitarian Demand?’
Dr Jonathan Seglow (Royal Holloway)
‘Accommodating Religion: The Case of Legal Exemptions'
||Dr Jonathan Quong (Manchester)|
|Chair||Professor John Horton (Keele)|
Boundaries of Toleration: Moderating Multiple Religious Jurisdictions
Professor Gillian Douglas (Cardiff)
Mark Hill QC, Dr Frank Cranmer (Durham)
Professor Daniel Weinstock (Montréal)
Followed by a drinks reception. All participants welcome.
Prof Cécile Laborde (UCL School of Public Policy), Dr Robert Morris (UCL Constitution Unit), Dr Uta Staiger (UCL European Institute).
The series is coordinated by the European Institute and UCL's Research Initiative Religion and Society (supported by the Grand Challenge of Intercultural Interaction).
Throughout, the organisers hope to engage UCL's community in a discussion about what
London's global university could or should contribute to a reflection of
these issues as a leading institution in research and in higher
education, and as an academic community.