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Secular liberalism is the separation of culture and politics from religion. A subcategory of liberalism and secularism, it supports the separation of religion and state particularly from the ideas of the Christian Church. Christian ideals are usually to be found on the opposite end of the spectrum from secular liberalism. Secular liberalism is often connected with standing for social equality and freedom.
Adherents of secular liberalism believe in the disestablishment of the Christian Church. Secular liberalism also depends on the conviction that religious tradition and belief has no binding authority on society. Public promoters of secular liberalism, such as Dawkins call for a clear distinction between the teaching of religion as a historical and cultural phenomenon and the teaching of religion as fact. Dawkins has likened using education to indoctrinate children with a particular religion to child abuse. One of the central tenets of the ideology is separation of church and state Among those who follow secular liberalism are Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris.
Practices that are considered to be illiberal are reformed in a state that practices secular liberalism. Legal measures have failed in the past because no effort is made to make a concept of the goods that the community has cherished in the past. This lack of reason-giving apparatus is called communitarianism and it used to criticize the liberal state as a coercive organization. Communitarianism essentially advocates a sense of intra-community (community-wide) democracy.
In a modern democratic society, a plurality of conflicting doctrines share an uneasy co-existence within the framework of civilization.
Secular liberalism is sometimes connected with the Arab Spring protests. One commentator labels it as a "secular liberal fantasy". Others have labeled the motivations behind it, and the temporary governments created as a result as secular liberalism.
Oftentimes, participation in the newly crowned democratic governments by the Muslim clerics are ignored in favor of the protesters' secular liberal ideas. Since 2011, more residents of the Middle East have been demanding a greater say in the running of their governments. They want democracy to appear in a uniquely Muslim fashion rather than through some artificial "secular" movement.
The French ban on face covering has been attributed by some to be a result of secular liberalism. The ban by the French Senate on September 14, 2010 outlawed coverings, including religious ones such as the burqa. Some French Muslims have found secular liberalism to be an ideology where prejudice against a minority group is used to win votes. According to the Hizb ut-Tahrir group, based out of the United Kingdom, women are secluded from society and made outcasts in society for trying to be modest. The group has also criticized other European countries for similar bans on religious dress.
The Vatican and the Moscow Patriarchate are waging a common fight against secular liberalism; claiming that this idea violates the traditional Christian concepts of family and human values by exposing people to medico-biological experiments that are incompatible with their ideas of human dignity. The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church expressed concern over trends in some Protestant communities towards liberalizing theology and Christian morals; he claims them to be products of secular liberalism.
- Culture war
- Enlightenment in Western secular tradition
- Religious liberalism
- Secular ethics
- Secular humanism
- Secular state
- Secularity and secularization
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