Political Theory 40 (3):319-346 (2012)

Some scholars have argued that religiously injurious speech poses a serious problem for secular liberal thought. It has been suggested that secular liberal thought and political practice often misrecognize the nature of the injury involved in speech that violates the sacred and that much secular thought about religious injury (and free exercise more generally) is premised on unacknowledged Protestant conceptions of what real religion is. In this essay, I argue against the ideas that secular liberalism tends to treat religion only as a matter of freely chosen belief and that the unchosen, habituated nature of much religious experience raises a problem for the defense of speech that violates the sacred. I argue that secular thought and practice should remain very concerned about the social and political harms of speech directed unambiguously at social groups but need not eliminate the gap between religious attachments and religious persons
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DOI 10.1177/0090591712439304
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