Faith, law and democracy

In light of Rowan Williams’ recent lecture – and the reaction it brought to the surface – there’s an interesting piece in today’s Economist on ‘Defining the Limits of Exceptionalism’. Here’s a taste:

In every democratic and more-or-less secular country, similar questions arise about the precise extent to which religious sub-cultures should be allowed to live by their own rules and “laws”. One set of questions emerges when believers demand, and often get, an opt-out from the law of the land … What has upset the old equilibrium, say law pundits in several countries, is the emergence all over the world of Muslim minorities who, regardless of what they actually want, are suspected by the rest of society of preparing to establish a “state within a state” in which the writ of secular legislation hardly runs at all. The very word sharia … is now political dynamite.

Full article here. And I have written more on this here.

Also, NT Wright offers a helpful contribution to the post-lecture here in this Washington Post article.

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