Enough is Enough! Civil Unions, Religious Prejudice, and the Limits of Secular Tolerance
Keywords:secular space, St. Augustine, religion and politics
AbstractThis article delineates the broad philosophical/theological legacy that structures the contemporary impasse between conservative religious morality and secular liberal tolerance. In the first part of the article, I will trace how, through a series of innovations stretching from Augustine to Locke, secular space emerged as autonomous and demarcated from religion, and how, concomitantly, religion became understood as ‘personal conviction’ or ‘private belief’. In the second part, I will take the case study of the 2004 civil unions protests in New Zealand. Using this case study I will argue that this broader ontological legacy (or the inherited way of understanding religion, secular space, and their relation) structures the conflict between religious conservatives and secular liberals so as to prevent these two positions from engaging or recognis¬ing each other. Finally, I shall propose a solution of sorts by looking at what a more Augustinian understanding of religion and politics might allow.
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