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Political TheologiesPublic Religions in a Post-Secular World$
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Hent de Vries and Lawrence E. Sullivan

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780823226443

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823226443.001.0001

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On the Relations Between the Secular Liberal State and Religion

On the Relations Between the Secular Liberal State and Religion

(p.251) On the Relations Between the Secular Liberal State and Religion
Political Theologies

Jürgen Habermas

Fordham University Press

Is the liberal secular state nourished by normative preconditions that it cannot itself guarantee? The question expresses doubt that the democratic constitutional state can renew the normative preconditions of its existence out of its own resources. It also voices the conjecture that the state is dependent upon autochthonous conceptual or religious traditions—in any case, collectively binding ethical traditions. This chapter assumes that the constitution of the liberal state is self-sufficient with regard to its need for legitimation. The ideological neutrality of state authority, which guarantees the same ethical freedoms for every citizen, is incompatible with the political generalization of a secularistic world-view. Secularized citizens, insofar as they act in their role as citizens of a state, may neither deny out of hand the potential for truth in religious conceptions of the world nor dispute the right of believing fellow citizens to make contributions to public discussions that are phrased in religious language.

Keywords:   liberal state, religious traditions, legitimation, state authority, neutrality, secularized citizens, democratic constitutional state

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