Democracy, equality and toleration

Journal of Ethics 11 (2):125 - 146 (2007)
In this paper I comment on a recent “letter” by Burleigh Wilkins addressed to nascent egalitarian democracies which offers advice on the achievement of religious toleration. I argue that while Wilkins’ advice is sound as far as it goes, it is nevertheless underdeveloped insofar as his letter fails to distinguish two competing conceptions of toleration – liberal-pluralist and republican-secularist – both of which are consistent with the advice he offers, but each of which yields very different policy recommendations (as can be seen by consideration of The United States v. Lee in America and, I’affaire du foulard in France). I argue that a democratic society of equals must be committed to liberal-pluralist rather than republican-secularist toleration.
Keywords church-state separation  democracy  equality   I’affaire du foulard   laïcité  liberalism  pluralism  republicanism  toleration   The United States v. Lee  Bunleigh Wilkins
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