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date: 18 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Contemporary democratic states tend to be highly secular, even as, in some of them, religious fundamentalism is growing. This article takes a secular state to be roughly one whose legal and institutional frameworks exhibit separation between the state and the church—meaning religious institutions. Religious citizens commonly see secular states as unfriendly toward religion. This article addresses the question of how secular governments can provide for the liberty of all in a way that observes a reasonable separation of church and state and minimizes the alienation of religious citizens. Achieving the optimal balance between an appropriate secularity in the state—which in practice implies governmental neutrality toward religion—requires both institutional principles, such as those appropriate to a constitution, and principles of civic virtue that apply to individual conduct.

Keywords: separation of church and state, secularism, constitution, civic virtue

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