Taking religious pluralism seriously. Arguing for an institutional turn. Introduction

Discussions of the relations between religions, society, politics, and the state in recent political philosophy are characterized, firstly, by a strong US American bias focusing on limitations of religious arguments in public debate. Even if the restriction or radical exclusion of religious reasons from public debate has recently been extensively criticized, secularist interpretations of liberal-democratic constitutions still prevail. Here it is argued that both strong secularism and weak or second order secularism are counterproductive for many reasons. Secondly, separationist interpretations of state-church relations are predominant, even if the severe wall of separation is criticized more often nowadays. Here it is argued that there are more and more interesting options than either separationism or accommodationism, that we should not exclusively focus at the constitutional relations between state and churches but address the full reciprocal relationship between society, culture, politics, nation, state and (organized) religions, and that we need more historical and comparative perspectives for the required institutionalist turn in political theory in order to overcome the obstacles inherent in predominant American political philosophy. The articles included in this volume are first, modest steps in this new direction
Keywords church – state relations  public reason  religious pluralism  secularism  separationism  state neutrality
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DOI 10.1023/A:1023242318028
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