Secularism, multiculturalism and same-sex marriage: a comment on Brenda Almond's 'Education for tolerance'

Journal of Moral Education 39 (2):145-160 (2010)
Although Almond argues that the contemporary West has lost touch with the value of tolerance, I argue that that value applied to those of different religions and sexual orientations is too minimal a standard for a pluralistic society. I suggest, in the spirit of the work of Charles Taylor and Tariq Modood, the more robust standard of respect and acceptance. In addition, I have criticised Almond?s privileging of parental values over school values, seeing in that privileging a failure to recognise both the civic function of schooling in a pluralistic society and the professional responsibilities of teachers to provide a safe and stigma?free environment of learning (a goal both educational and civic in character). I argue that Almond?s briefly presented rejection of same?sex marriage and privileging of ?biological? families is insufficiently defended. Moreover within the philosophical framework of her own concerns about the weakening of a commitment to marriage in Western society in the past several decades, I argue that she should be more supportive of same?sex marriage. Finally, I argue that her account of the problems occasioned by new immigrant groups, especially Muslims, in the West is very sketchy and fails to connect with her critique of secularism
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DOI 10.1080/03057241003754856
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