Liberté, Laïcité, Pluralité: Towards a Theology of Principled Pluralism

In: International Journal of Public Theology
Jonathan Chaplin Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics (KLICE) Cambridge UK

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While the Charlie Hebdo attacks unleashed a highly distinctive national debate within France, that debate also serves to throw into sharp relief the deepening tensions generated by increasingly complex relationships between the state and religion across much of Europe, not least due to the arrival of immigrant minority faiths wishing to advance claims in what is widely assumed to be ‘secular’ public space. After reviewing these tensions, the article distinguishes five current European responses to them and proposes a model of ‘principled pluralism’ as a theologically defensible option. The original theological roots of such a model are outlined and six indicative contemporary practical implications proposed.

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