An Anti-Secularist. Manifesto. AshisNandy. I. Gandhi said he was secular. Yet, he thought poorly of those who wanted to keep religion and politics separate. He scandalized many in India who view themselves as progressive when, in the mids, he published ‘An Anti-Secularist Manifesto’. Free from the irate polemics seen in some recent anti-religious commentaries ( here and here), his “secularist manifesto” invites constructive.

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But, to understand Nandy, we can even do without the context: End unjustified religious discrimination by: Limit the right of religious people delivering public services for example marriage registrars, judges, pharmacists, or manifestk workers to conscientiously object to carrying out lawful parts of their job to rare and specific exemptions eg doctors and abortion agreed by parliament.

Williams distinguishes it from a “programmatic secularism”, which would seek to impose a secular humanist belief system on society via state power. If you agree with only most of that manifesto, you may well be a vicar.

A response to the ‘secularist manifesto’

If you agree with all the above, while you may be an ardent secularist, you are in na way “militant” or “aggressive”.

Should we be party to the epidemic of apologies that has swept the West and insist that Nandy take back everything he has said? For many religious believers, manifestation is a corporate not a solitary enterprise, coming to expression in a wide range of faith-based educational, welfare, charitable, publishing or campaigning associations.

The intellectual has a right to publish books.

To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: How did we come to have such fragile sensibilities? The dedicated do-good activist types, in particular, are generally without humor aj find irony a hindrance to whatever noble cause they wish to espouse.


This is why secularists: Secularism is not atheism lack of belief in God and nor is it humanism a nonreligious belief system. Commendably, Harris distances himself from any such imperious ambition. Some operate outside the public sector while others come within its purview either through historical incorporation by the state eg church schools, religious hospitals or through having entered into contracts with the state to pursue specific public purposes eg faith-based social service agencies.

‘Secularism is an inaccessible concept’ – The Hindu

Please Email the Editor. Where religious organisations join others in delivering public services, ensure they do so without: Under this model, advocates of contending belief systems may freely advance their political views in public debate within accepted rules of democratic engagement but with no one belief system enjoying entrenched constitutional privilege. The outcome would be a boisterous procedural secularism in which religious voices could make their distinctive contributions unconstrained by the sort of deliberative restraints often imposed by self-styled secularists.

Work to end segregation of people based on religious dividing lines.

None of it engages with what families get up to in their home, or religious leaders within their own families. Related Articles A unique communal harmony in Kochi. Loading comments… Trouble loading?

His point manifesto contains much that many citizens of religious faith could endorse: Topics Religion Cif belief. Since at this point his penchant for detail is not on display, let me suggest two forms of religious public speech he might care to consider:.

Many secularists are religious and many religious people — recognising the value of keeping government and religion separate — are secular.

Religious citizens, organisations, MPs or anto should — when circumstances require it — be free to invoke religious arguments when they advance policies or laws in democratic forums, including parliamentary and council proceedings.


Unfortunately, political parties and governments have repeatedly used history as a tool to tell their version of things. Protecting conscience would not imply a “blanket religious exemption based on subjective feelings” but rather a better balancing of objective legal rights.

Printable version Jan 1, 3: Presumably Harris would manofesto object to religious citizens exercising the same kind of democratic influence over law as that available to everyone else.

Like many who call themselves secularists, he claims to be against “banning religion from the public square”, yet the tenor of this and other public interventions suggest a desire to keep it on a tight leash.

Secularism seeks to defend the absolute freedom of religious and other belief, seeks to maximise freedom of religious and other expression and protect the right to manifest religious belief insofar as it does not impinge disproportionately on the rights and freedoms of others.

‘Secularism is an inaccessible concept’

But Harris wants to impose severe legal restrictions on the ability of such religious organisations to act according to their distinctive religious beliefs the moment they enter the public sector, manifeato frustrating the very reason for them existing as distinct bodies rather than mere replicas of secular agencies.

Legislators may quite legitimately be significantly, even primarily, motivated by their religious beliefs to support a law or policy, even though governments themselves would not invoke religious reasons to publicly justify official acts of state.

Protect free religious expression that does not directly incite violence or crimes against others or publicly and directly cause someone distress or alarm.