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Copyright (c) 2005 Cornell International Law Journal
Cornell International Law Journal

ARTICLE: A Terrible Purity 1: International Law, Morality, Religion, Exclusion


38 Cornell Int'l L.J. 9


Tawia Ansah +



A. Religion and the Rule of Law: Passion Versus Reason?

"[Religion] gets in the way of morality." Kim Campbell, former Prime Minister of Canada, March 17, 2004 2
This Article argues that the separation between law and religion is porous. The border between them must be constantly maintained and policed. Positive law and the norm of the secular self are heavily invested in maintaining the purity of those boundaries. But the maintenance of purity is at cost. One cost is the construction of the religious other as the repudiated, the abject. This Article attempts to look at these separations, constructions, and bulwarks, facilitated by the legal framework, from both a secular and a religious perspective.

Sara Dillon has recently discussed the possibility of the European Union (EU) becoming an "alternative superpower." 3 She suggests that while the EU's incrementalist "method," at least insofar as the legal paradigm, is successful in a number of ways, it seems unable to permit the development of a unified foreign policy that could counterbalance U.S. dominance in international affairs. 4 Dillon notes that a principal weakness of incrementalism is its suppression of passion, emotion, and the old "blood and soil" narratives that, despite their evils, ignited the political imagination:

Beneath the rational surface of the EU lurks not a more energetic Europe, but a [longing to] return to the very blood and soil irrationality that the EU had sought to banish over a long process of conceptual exile. ...
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