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What’s the Problem with Symbolic Religious Establishment?

What’s the Problem with Symbolic Religious Establishment?

The Alienation and Symbolic Equality Accounts

Chapter:
(p.118) 8 What’s the Problem with Symbolic Religious Establishment?
Source:
Religion in Liberal Political Philosophy
Author(s):
Sune Lægaard
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198794394.003.0009

This chapter discusses how religious establishment involves institutional links between state and organized religion. While establishment is often material, it also has symbolic aspects, and sometimes establishment is mainly symbolic. The question we are concerned with here is whether establishment is normatively problematic even when it is purely symbolic. Two accounts, which are present but often not systematically articulated in the literature, for why symbolic establishment might be problematic are presented: the alienation account and the symbolic equality account. These two accounts are importantly different from each other and they face different challenges, which critics of symbolic establishment have to address.

Keywords:   religious establishment, Church and state, religion and politics, religious freedom, religious equality, secularism

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