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CALUMET . intercultural law and humanities review
ISSN 2465-0145 (on-line)
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A Modest Proposal: An Overgrown Constitutional Path to Cultural/Religious Pluralism in Italy
Ricca M.
This essay comprises two sections.
The first one presents and explains the proposal to broaden the meaning and scope of “intese” (agreements) between the State and minority denominations. “Broadened intese” is the label employed here to define the attempt to align the “intese” with both the generally pluralistic aspirations of the Italian Constitution and the need for the hetero-integration of national legal systems stemming from globalization processes. The device of hetero-integration is, in turn, strictly related to freedom and, even more specifically, religious freedom. The proposal for “broadened intese” is motivated, moreover, by the need to develop an instrument for legal intercultural integration that is more powerful than private international law. This use of “intese” should function as a means to promote and implement a value-based pluralism rather than a merely inter-legal or inter-normative one, so as to further the legal inclusion of cultural and religious differences. In the second section, the topic of religious and cultural difference is analyzed with regard to the request from the UAAR, an Italian atheist/agnostic association, to conclude their own “intesa.” In the framework of the survey on the intercultural use of “intese,” the examination of this request from the atheist organization and the subsequent refusal of the State serves to highlight the connections extant between legal secular culture and religious tradition in the Italian legal system as well as, comparatively, in other legal systems. The “atheist difference,” actually, proves to be a radical one. In this respect, it allows for a strengthening, by reflection, of the argument for broadening the scope of “intese” in order to guarantee both religious freedom and equality before law.


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