In contrast with the progressive dilution of religions predicted by traditional liberal and Marxist approaches, religions remain important for many people, even in Europe, the most secularised continent. In the context of increasingly culturally diverse societies, this calls for a reinterpretation of the secular legacy of the Enlightenment and also for an updating of democratic institutions.


This book focuses on a central question: are the classical secularist arrangements well equipped to tackle the challenge of fast-growing religious pluralism? Or should we move to new post-secular arrangements when dealing with pluralism in Europe? Offering an interdisciplinary approach that combines political theory and legal analysis, the authors tackle two interrelated facets of this controversial question. They begin by exploring the theoretical perspective, asking what post-secularism is and looking at its relation to secularism. The practical consequences of this debate are then examined, focusing on case-law through four empirical case studies.


This book will be of interest to students and scholars of political theory, philosophy, religion and politics, European law, human rights, legal theory and socio-legal studies.

chapter 1|18 pages

Uses and abuses of postsecularism

An introduction
ByCamil Ungureanu

part I|102 pages

Theoretical approaches

chapter 2|25 pages

Equal liberty, non-establishment and religious freedom 1

ByCécile Laborde

chapter 3|15 pages

Religious pluralism in a deliberative democracy

ByCristina Lafont

chapter 4|25 pages

The theological and secular dimensions of the modern state

Historical and contemporary perspectives
ByJohn Loughlin

chapter 5|20 pages

Postsecular awareness and the depth of pluralism

ByPaolo Monti

chapter 6|15 pages

Reconciling diversity and solidarity?

A critical look at Charles Taylor’s conception of secularism
ByBernard Gagnon

part II|93 pages

From theory to practice

chapter 7|24 pages

Religious pluralism

The case of the European Court of Human Rights
ByJavier Martínez-Torrón

chapter 8|14 pages

A marriage made in heaven?

The relationship between religious pluralism and secularism
ByLorenzo Zucca

chapter 9|18 pages

Conscientious objection to same-sex marriage

Politics by other means
ByDaniel Gamper

chapter 10|21 pages

The conundrum of pluralism and the doctrine of the margin of appreciation

The crucifix “affair” and the ambivalence of the ECtHR
ByMarisa Iglesias, Camil Ungureanu

chapter 11|14 pages

Religions and liberal democracies

Final remarks
ByFerran Requejo