- Including Islam within the fold of traditional western religious tolerance is not business-as-usual. It is an experiment. Our Lockean ideas of religious tolerance had their origins in the 16th century (the peace of Augsburg) and the 17th (the peace of Westphalia). Those understandings regulated relations between Christian sects and were steadily liberalised. Judaism later proved assimilable into this system in the US, but not, to put it mildly, everywhere in the west.
- Islam – which is, like Christianity but unlike contemporary Judaism, an evangelising and expansionist religion – is a bigger challenge. ("A mosque that wrecks bridges," August 6, 2010)
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Toleration: A Natural Development in England and Western Civilization?
Charles de Gaulle once said (about Jean-Paul Sartre and his firebrand politics), "We do not imprison our Voltaires." He appeared to have forgotten that Voltaire was indeed imprisoned for a satire on the French government. But "we" in the past were always more tolerant and more independent-minded in our own memories than the facts warrant. Perhaps that is why journalist Christopher Caldwell claims Lockean tolerance for the entire culture of early modern Europe. Writing in the Financial Times against the Cordoba mosque complex proposal for lower Manhattan, he notes: