New Reflections on Secularism


One of the issues that no doubt divided the opinion of voters during the last presidential elections was the so-called “values agenda”, which included issues like gay marriage and adoption, legislation partially decriminalizing, and progress with respect to gender identity rights.  No doubt, exceptions exist—like this election demonstrated that—but those who are overwhelmingly against these positions tend to be those who identify with our country’s various religions, while those who tend to defend these issues are linked to agnostic or atheist circles.

In addition to the upcoming visit by Pope Francisco to our country, all this has once again raised the old debate, which divides both groups, and which invariably resurfaces in the posing of questions like: is Chile a Secular Country? To what extent should churches participate in political and civic debates? What is the relation between social rights and the policies promoted by religious groups, who also purport to defend the rights of their faithful?

In this Dossier, the National Award Recipient in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Agustín Squella; the academic from the Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities Álvaro Ramis; the sociologist and executive director of Miles Chiles Claudia Dides; the Jesuit priest Felipe Berríos and the journalist and writer Óscar Contardo provide fresh answers to these old questions and reflect on an important issue, which will be discussed at dinner tables in the months to come.

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