Faithful to Secularism
?Religion and democracy can make tense bedfellows. Secular elites may view religious movements as conflict-prone and incapable of compromise, while religious actors may fear that anticlericalism will drive religion from public life. Yet such tensions are not inevitable: from Asia to Latin America, religious actors coexist with, and even help to preserve, democracy.
In Faithful to Secularism, David T. Buckley argues that political institutions encouraging an active role for public religion can play a key part in explaining this variation, by building coalition ties across religious and secular boundaries. He develops the concept of "benevolent secularism" to describe institutions that combine a basic division of religion and state with extensive room for participation of religious actors in public life, and he traces the impact of benevolent secularism on religious and secular elites, both at critical junctures in state formation and as politics evolves over time. Buckley shows how religious and secular actors build credibility and shared norms over time, and that such coalitions can endure challenges from both religious revivals and periods of anticlericalism. Faithful to Secularism tests this institutional theory in Ireland, Senegal, and the Philippines, using a blend of archival, interview, and public opinion data. These case studies illustrate how even countries with an active religious majority can become and remain faithful to secularism.