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Solidarity in Diversity? State Responses to Religious Diversity in Liberal and Non-Liberal Perspectives

  • Jaclyn L. Neo, Matthias Roßbach, Li-ann Thio and Alexander Tischbirek

Abstract

This Article introduces the German Law Journal’s Special Issue on “Solidarity in Diversity? State Responses to Religious Diversity in Liberal and Non-Liberal Perspectives”. The major countries in comparative focus are Germany and Singapore, both self-avowedly secular countries that face the challenge of religious diversity: Singapore, from inception, and Germany, through more recent developments. A key issue the Article raises concerns liberal approaches towards regulating religion; it argues that the liberal model, taking Germany as an example, may serve as a productive starting point for comparative analysis, as the liberal focus on individual religious freedom impacts managing religious diversity, shapes national cultural identity, models of secularism and social solidarity. This is compared with non-liberal approaches, as exemplified in Singapore practice, where a more communitarian outlook underpin more interventionist approaches whereby public interests and the common good tend to be prioritized over individual freedom. The comparative angles offered in this Special Issue is furthermore buttressed in several articles in this Special Issue that make comparisons to other jurisdictions-United States and Canada. This introductory Article offers a brief overview to the various contributions to this Special Issue and identifies unifying themes.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Footnotes

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*

Associate Professor, National University of Singapore Faculty of Law.

**

Head of “Coordination of Federal and European Policy and International Affairs”, State Chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia, Berlin Office; Postdoctoral Adjunct Researcher, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin Faculty of Law.

***

Professor (Provost Chair), National University of Singapore Faculty of Law.

****

Postdoctoral Researcher, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin Faculty of Law.

Footnotes

References

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1 Global Religious Diversity: Half of the Most Religiously Diverse Countries are in Asia-Pacific Region, Pew Research Center: Religion & Public Life (Apr. 4, 2014), http://www.pewforum.org/2014/04/04/global-religious-diversity/#fn-20155-2, accessed Aug. 4, 2019. The Pew Research Center’s Religious Diversity Index looks at the percentage of each country’s population that belongs to the eight major religious groups as of 2010. The closer a country comes to having equal shares of the eight groups, the higher its religious diversity score.

2 See Statistisches Bundesamt: Fachserie A / Bevölkerung und Kultur / Volks- und Berufszählung vom 6. Juni 1961, Heft 5, Bevölkerung nach der Religionszugehörigkeit. Stuttgart 1966), at 21, https://www.destatis.de/GPStatistik/servlets/MCRFileNodeServlet/DEMonografie_derivate_00001919/FS-A-VZ1961-05-1961-05.pdf, accessed Aug 10, 2019.

3 Religionszugehörigkeiten in Deutschland 2017, Forschungsgruppe Weltanschauungen in Deutschland (Aug. 10, 2018), https://fowid.de/meldung/religionszugehoerigkeiten-deutschland-2017, accessed Aug. 4, 2019.

4 The abovementioned study held that 68.7% of German citizens were Christian, 5.8% Muslim, and 24.7% unaffiliated. Pew Research Center, supra note , at 18.

5 Cf. András Sajw & Renáta Uitz, Freedom of Religion, in Oxford Handbook of Comparative Constitutional Law 909, 912 (Michel Rosenfeld & András Sajw eds., 2015) (citing the work of Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde). See also Chapter 16 of John Stuart Mill, Of Nationality, as Connected with Representative Government, in On Liberty and Other Essays 428 (2008).

6 Paul Horwitz, The Agnostic Age: Law, Religion, and the Constitution 10 (2011) (emphasis added).

7 For further reading on neutrality and liberalism, see Peter Jones, The Ideal Of A Neutral State, in Liberalism and Neutrality 2 (Robert Goodwin & Andrew Reeve eds., 1989); Bruce Ackerman, Social Justice in the Liberal State (1980); Ronald M. Dworkin, Liberalism, in Public and Private Morality 113–43 (Stuart Hampshire ed., 1978). For the intractability of the “neutral” position, cf. Rex Ahdar, Is Secularism Neutral?, 26 Ratio Juris 404 (2013).

8 Jaclyn L. Neo, Secularism Without Liberalism: Religious Freedom and Secularism in a Non-Liberal State, Mich. St. L. Rev. 333 (2017); Jaclyn L. Neo, Conceptualizing the Regulation of Religion: A Preliminary Framework For Inquiry, in Regulating Religion in Asia: Norms, Modes and Challenges (38 Jaclyn L. Neo, Arif A. Jamal, & Daniel PS Goh eds. 2019).

9 Graham Walker, The New Mixed Constitution: A Response to Liberal Debility & Constitutional Deadlock in Eastern Europe, 26 Polity 503, 506 (1994).

10 Graham Walker, The Mixed Constitution After Liberalism, 4 Cardozo J. Int’l & Comp. L. 311, 319 (1996).

11 Cf. also Li-ann Thio, Relational Constitutionalism and the Management of Inter-Religious Disputes: The Singapore 'Secularism with a Soul’ Model, 2 Oxford J. L. & Religion 446–69 (2012).

12 Nicholas Wolterstorff, An Engagement with Rorty, 31 J. Religious Ethics 129, 132–33 (2003).

13 For this liberal position, see John Rawls, Political Liberalism (Colum. Univ. Press, 2005); John Rawls, The Idea of Public Reason Revisited, 64 U. Chi. L. Rev. 765 (1997); John Rawls, The Idea of an Overlapping Consensus, 7 Oxford J. Legal Stud. 1 (1987).

14 To be fair, Rawls modulated his earlier claims and restricts this exclusionary position premised upon reasonableness of public reason to what he calls “constitutional essentials.”

15 See Jürgen Habermas, Religion in the Public Sphere, 14 Eur. J. Phil. 1, 4 (2006). Cf. Jürgen Habermas, Glaube und Wissen, Zeitdiagnosen, Zwölf Essays (Suhrkamp Verlag 2003) 249–62.

16 John Rawls notes, “[T]here are many liberalisms.” John Rawls, Political Liberalism 223 (1993).

17 Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, Staat, Gesellschaft, Freiheit: Studien zur Staatstheorie und zum Verfassungsrecht 60 (Suhrkamp Verlag 1976).

18 See Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, Biographical Interview, in Constitutional and Political Theory: Selected Writings (Mirjam Künkler & Tine Stein eds. 2017).

19 See, e.g., Brian J. Grim & Roger Finke, The Price of Freedom Denied: Religious Persecution and Conflict in the Twenty-First Century 74 (2010).

20 For instance, the Singapore constitution contains a bill of rights-Part IV, Fundamental Liberties—that traces its genealogical roots to the American constitution. See Anthony Lester QC, The Overseas Trade in the American Bill of Rights, 88 Colum. L. Rev. 537, 544 (1988); Thio Li-ann, A Bill of Rights Without a “Rights Culture”? Fundamental Liberties and Constitutional Adjudication in Singapore, in Comparative Constitutional Law: A Festschrift in Honour of Professor P.K. Tripathi (Mahendra Pal Singh ed., 2nd ed. 2006).

21 Jaclyn L. Neo, Secular Constitutionalism in Singapore: Between Equality and Hierarchy, Oxford J. of Law and Religion 1 (2016)

22 Li-ann Thio, Rule of Law, Religious Liberty, and Harmony: Multiculturalism, Legal Pluralism, and the Singapore Model of Accommodative Secularism, 5 J. L. Religion & St. 254 (2017).

23 Neo, supra note 8.

24 See Grundgesetz [GG] [Basic Law] art. 140, translation at http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_gg/index.html.

25 See Jaclyn L. Neo & Bui Ngoc Son, Pluralist Constitutions in Southeast Asia (Hart 2019).

26 Ran Hirschl, Comparative Matters: The Renaissance of Comparative Constitutional Law 192 (Oxford University Press 2014).

* Associate Professor, National University of Singapore Faculty of Law.

** Head of “Coordination of Federal and European Policy and International Affairs”, State Chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia, Berlin Office; Postdoctoral Adjunct Researcher, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin Faculty of Law.

*** Professor (Provost Chair), National University of Singapore Faculty of Law.

**** Postdoctoral Researcher, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin Faculty of Law.

Keywords

Solidarity in Diversity? State Responses to Religious Diversity in Liberal and Non-Liberal Perspectives

  • Jaclyn L. Neo, Matthias Roßbach, Li-ann Thio and Alexander Tischbirek

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