Pablo Cristóbal Jiménez Lobeira (Centre for European Studies (ANU); Centre for Applied Philosophy & Public Ethics (CSU)) has posted Public Schools and Crucifixes: What Kind of Neutrality? – Reflexions on the Principle of Secularism in a Plural Europe. The abstract follows.
Lautsi v Italy attracted widespread attention in Europe and beyond. At stake were different conceptions of neutrality of the modern secular state. Though the contention was about a Christian symbol, the European Court’s ruling has consequences for other religions and worldviews present in Europe today. This paper will review different ways in which neutrality can be understood according to the “immanent frame” (Taylor). It will analyze secularism as statecraft and as worldview (Casanova). It will explore the role of religion in the European public sphere in a “post-secular age” (Habermas). Furthermore, it will study the concept of tolerance as inclusion of plurality in the context of Europe’s constitutional traditions than as indifference about, or even hostility towards religion (Weiler). Finally, I will propose an understanding of neutrality in the public sphere that enables interculturalism among the European citizens, and arguably the success of the European Union as an analogical polity.