What norms can support a public square in which citizens and the communities they form are free to bring their deepest convictions into public life? Certainly the American experiment offers one guide, where an individual’s right of conscience undergirds all other public rights. On the other hand, many European countries reinforce one tradition over others, even if only symbolically, through means such as a “church tax.” Perhaps surprisingly, many European Christians representing dwindling congregations describe a “holy envy” for the faith of their Muslim immigrant neighbors, who number some 25 million across 28 European Union states. As heightened pluralism is testing the political commitments of present-day Europe, this session draws on the contributions of Dutch Prime Minister Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920), the Arabic phrase “only God knows,” and other cultural traditions that can help point to a constructive way forward for policymakers seeking workable solutions.
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