Methodological Perspectives and Empirical Applications
Religious Symbols in Public Spaces: Ethical and Legal Arguments: Andrés Ollero
Religious Symbols in Public Spaces: Ethical and Legal Arguments1
Symbols are not simply another object of law; law itself is symbolic. Law does not use language as an instrument; law itself is a language that articulates a particular type of meaning. The neutrality of the public space as such is asserted, without first determining if this is to be achieved by agreement among the plurality of believers or between believers and non-believers. A further problem in this regard is to establish whether or not a given symbol is religious, and when it may become an object of law on juridical grounds. Finally, given that the true meaning of a symbol may be called into question, an authoritative definition of such meaning may also be required.
Keywords: Religious symbols; Neutrality; Positive secularism; Public order; Islamic veil; Crucifixes; Justice and tolerance.
Given that it is shaped by the principle of legality, European legal culture has come to equate law as such with a more or less (less rather than more) compatible set of legal texts. Surprisingly, this crude conception of legal reality draws a remarkable degree of support in theoretical terms. However, since it lacks a significant sense of critical reflection, such support cannot be described as philosophical. ← 503 | 504 →