Religious diversity and democratic institutional pluralism

Political Theory 31 (2):265-294 (2003)
Strict separation of church from a presumed 'religion-blind' and strictly 'neutral' state still is the preferred model in liberal, democratic, feminist, and socialist political theory. Focusing on the full, reciprocal relationships between society-culture-politics-nation-state and (organized) religions, this article makes a case in favor of 'nonconstitutional pluralism' in general, associative democracy in particular. Associative democracy recognizes religious diversity both individually and organizationally; it stimulates legitimate religious diversity; it prevents a hidden majority bias; and it provides a legitimate role for organized religions in the provision of a wide range of services, including education, on one hand, and in the political process, on the other hand. That organized religions should be informed, heard, and consulted in contested issues should be a crucial component of democratic participation. This also might help prevent the development of religious fundamentalism
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DOI 10.1177/0090591702251012
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