HomeFaith communities: living together or living side by side? Which role for public authorities?

HomeFaith communities: living together or living side by side? Which role for public authorities?

Faith communities: living together or living side by side? Which role for public authorities?

Communautés convictionnelles : vivre ensemble ou côte-à-côte ? Le rôle des pouvoirs publics

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Published on Thursday, October 26, 2023

Abstract

Today, a debate on the relevance and legitimacy of public funding for religious communities has been sparked by the broadcast on Flemish public television of the Godvergeten documentary series about the victims of paedophilia committed by members of the Catholic clergy. More than ever, the question of the contribution made by faith communities to "living together" is being raised. At a time when calls are being made for the outright abolition of public funding of religious institutions, it is also worth looking at the situation in neighbouring countries. The aim of this workshop, organised as part of the triennial conference of the Belgian French-speaking Political Science Association, is to bring together people to reflect on faith-based communities in Belgium, and to look more broadly at the relationship between politics and religion, using examples from other countries.

Announcement

Workshop organised as part of the Triennial Congress of the Association belge francophone de science politique - January 31st 2024

Arguments

In Belgium, religious organizations and non-denominational philosophical groups, which we will together refer to as "convictional communities", are recognized mainly for their social usefulness. While six religious organizations and one non-denominational philosophical organization are currently recognized, other communities are applying for recognition, in a context of increasing diversification of the convictional landscape.

For several years now, the concepts of "living together" and "social cohesion" have featured prominently in political discourse. However, those concepts are not always defined, and when they are, the orientations and instruments of the public policies deployed by different authorities sometimes appear to be at odds with the enunciations. Today, a debate on the usefulness and legitimacy of public funding for religious organizations has opened up, following the broadcasting by Flemish public television of the documentary series Godvergeten, devoted to the victims of pedophilia committed by members of the Catholic clergy. More than ever, the question of the contribution made by faith communities to "living together" is being raised.

At a time when there are calls for the outright abolition of public funding for religious organizations, it is also worth looking at the situation in neighboring countries. As the idea of a total elimination of public funding is in fact nothing more than an illusion, the possibilities for reform lie more in the modalities and level of support given to conviction-based organizations, and in the definition of their perimeter.

The panel will address the following questions in particular:

What insights do public policies regarding convictional communities provide? 

How can we analyze the Belgian system for recognizing and funding convictional communities, including from a comparative perspective?

Why are interfaith dialogue projects considered on the bangs of, or even outside, public policies on convictional communities? 

Could more participatory mechanisms be introduced into such policies? Can we draw any conclusions from the large-scale consultation experiments carried out in Muslim communities in particular?

Is our system adapted to contemporary convictional diversity? Does the system of representative organs allow for adequate representation of this diversity, whether internal to the cult or external? 

Can politics/regulatory mechanisms attempt to influence the orientations carried/defended by convictional communities ("Islam of Belgium", "of the Enlightenment")?

How can we reconcile collaboration with representatives of convictional communities in cases where the latter hold convictions or ideologies that are incompatible with respect for fundamental rights, and in particular the principle of equality between women and men and that of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation?

Are public policies towards convictional communities still based first and foremost on the exercise of freedom of religion and the practice of non-denominational moral assistance, or are they becoming a sub-policy of a broader policy of social cohesion?

Is it, as Torfs writes, a question of funding religion for something other than religion? And, if so, how compatible are these schemes with the separation of church and state?

Submission guidelines

Proposals for papers in French (or English), maximum 500 words, should be sent to JeanFrançois Husson (jfhusson@uliege.be) and Caroline Sägesser (c.sagesser@crisp.be) by October 31, 2023.

Organization

 Jean-François Husson (ULiège et UCLouvain) & Caroline Sägesser (CRISP)

Places

  • Les précisions seront apportées ultérieurement. - 7 Place du Vingt Août
    Liège, Belgium (4000)

Event attendance modalities

Full on-site event


Date(s)

  • Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Keywords

  • relation, église, état, cohésion, sociale, vivre, ensemble, cultes, religions, dialogue, inter-religieux, communauté, convictionnelle,

Contact(s)

  • Jean-François Husson
    courriel : jfhusson [at] uliege [dot] be
  • Caroline Sägesser
    courriel : c [dot] sagesser [at] crisp [dot] be

Information source

  • Jean-François Husson
    courriel : jfhusson [at] uliege [dot] be

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Faith communities: living together or living side by side? Which role for public authorities? », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, October 26, 2023, https://doi.org/10.58079/1c3r

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