Politics of IslamicReformation
and state and the secular principle o reedom o conscience, while oundationalto liberal political rule, is also shot through with tensions and generates its ownpeculiar set o problems. Nonetheless, secularism is upheld these days by Ameri-can liberals and progressives alike on the assumption that this particular sociopo-litical arrangement is the best way to ward o the dangers o religious strie.Recent scholarship oers some interesting challenges to the idea that liberalsecularism primarily consists in securing a orm o governance orchestratedaround these two principles o reedom and restraint. Some scholars suggest thatthe so-called rewall separation between church and state does not adequatelydescribe how religion and modern governance are constitutively intertwined. Thisintertwining prevails not only in non-Western societies, it is argued, but also inthose that are upheld as exemplary models o what a secular polity should be,such as the United States, France, and Britain. Apart rom the constitutive rolereligious movements and institutions have played in crating the political cultureo these nations,
scholars argue, the ongoing regulation o religious lie through juridical and legislative means suggests a ar more porous relationship than thedoctrine o secularism suggests. In the United States, or example, recent Ameri-can scholarship points to the phenomenon o both lower and higher courts havingto constantly regulate when and how religion is practiced and expressed in publiclie.
Similarly, the recent French law banning the display o religious symbols(particularly the veil) in public schools may be taken as another example o how asel-avowed secular state has come to dene what religious and nonreligious attireis in the public domain (something normatively considered a matter o personalchoice within liberalism).
impasse is or the evangelicals to orego state unding or their religious programs in exchange orgreater tolerance on the part o the secularists or “governmental maniestation o religion” in civicspaces. While the ormer would preserve the ormal separation between religion and state, the latterwould ensure that everyone eels ree to express their religious aliation openly in public lie. SeeNoah Feldman,
by God: America’s Church-State Problem — and What We Should Do About It
(New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005).3. On the United States, see Sacvan Bercovitch,
The American Jeremiad
(Madison: University o Wisconsin Press, 1978), and James Morone,
Hellfre Nation: The Politics o Sin in American History
(New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2004). On Britain, see Peter Harrison,
“Religion” and Religions in the English Enlightenment
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), and Petervan der Veer,
Imperial Encounters: Religion and Modernity in India and Britain
(Princeton, N.J.:Princeton University Press, 2001). On France, see Jean Bauberot’s “The Two Thresholds o Laiciza-tion” in Bhargava,
Secularism and Its Critics
, 94 – 136.4. See Winnired Sullivan’s
Paying the Words Extra
(Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UniversityPress, 1994) and
The Impossibility o Religious Freedom
(Princeton, N.J.: Princeton UniversityPress, 2005).