The Orthodox hesitation: the ‘liberal-democracy’ paradox

John Anderson

in Christianity and Democratisation

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780719077388
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702000 | DOI:
The Orthodox hesitation: the ‘liberal-democracy’ paradox

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This chapter addresses liberalism and pluralism. It explains how traditionally dominant churches have handled the acceptance of a wider range of sexual difference, with the focus on homosexuality, and the growth of religious free markets. The chapter then investigates the role of Orthodoxy in civil-society-building in Russia and the experience of minority Orthodox communities in the USA. For all religious institutions, the pluralism associated with democratic political orders creates real problems. It is suggested that Eastern Orthodoxy has struggled with the democratic experiment in countries where it has traditionally been dominant. An impressionistic survey of the Orthodox experience in America largely mirrors that of the much larger Catholic community. The Russian Orthodox Church's political presence and anti-pluralist stance in a context of incomplete or ‘managed’ democratisation has been one of a number of factors that have hindered the full acceptance of social and political pluralism in Russia.

Keywords: liberalism; pluralism; homosexuality; religious free markets; Eastern Orthodoxy; Russia; USA; democratic political orders; Orthodox Church

Chapter.  11615 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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