Volume 19, Issue 1, 2019
Being a Progressive in Divinitia
In Liberalism’s Religion, Cécile Laborde defends a theory of liberal secularism that is compatible with a minimal separation of religion and politics. According to her view, liberal state—she calls it Divinitia—that symbolically establishes the historic majority’s religious doctrine and inspires some of its legislation on a conservative interpretation of such religious tradition can be legitimate. In this article I analyse how is it like to belong to the minority of liberal progressive citizens in a country like Divinitia. I argue that their political activism will be defeated by Divinitia’s status quo on at least four different grounds. First, in virtue of being a minority, liberal progressive citizens would rarely obtain democratic victories; second, the conservative majority could rightly argue that they do not have reasons to compromise their views in order to accommodate progressives’; third, the conservative majority can rightly complain that counter-majoritarian initiatives advanced by progressives are unfair; and four, Divinitia’s public reason reproduces an asymmetry, for religiously inspired reasons can be accessible and therefore justifiatory in politics, while the reasons progressives would desire to present in public deliberation would not be accessible to their conservative fellow citizens.