It has often been said that the answer to bad religion is not no religion but good religion.
A religion free society, or one where religion is relegated to only the private sphere (which is the stated goal of many secularists), leads to many problems.
In this article “Secularism can sometimes undermine women’s rights” which appeared this week on the openDemocracy website, Emma Tomlin, director of the Centre for Religion and Public Life and senior lecturer in religious studies at the University of Leeds in England, argues that the privatisation of faith can lead to the undermining of women’s rights because of the fact that once privatised, the ability for the state to engage with faith groups and their norms and values, diminishes.
…. If these conservative religious interpretations are not engaged with head on—in an informed and respectful way—then secularism and a liberal desire to “let groups live their own private lives in peace”, can be harmful for women.
… By relegating religion to the private sphere, where women are more likely to be located than men, conservative religion often flourishes unchecked, strengthened by appeals to “group rights”. The liberal democratic state doesn’t want to “interfere”, but then effectively leaves women to fend for themselves.