This post pertains to a dilemma that we are experiencing within the InterFaith Settlement Foundation. The primary objective of the InterFaith Settlement Foundation is to build a municipality specifically predicated upon interreligious cooperation. We are still in the very formative stages of development.
One of the dilemmas that we are facing is how to structure the form of city governance. Obviously we are interested in coinciding with the democratic principles of society, but we are also interested in maintaining direct representation of each religious group inhabiting the city.
Our initial thought is to establish a city council that consists of a representative from each religious group; with each religious group determining how its representative is selected. The thought is that the decisions of the city council be formed through general consensus rather than majority voting. Though such a process may be slow and labourious, it better ensures that the interests of all groups are involved in the final decision. However, such a process also differs from the standard process of democracy.
So the dilemma is almost a decision of Democracy versus Theocracy. Do we give each person one vote and coerce underrepresented religious groups to conform to the majority decision? Or, do we compromise individual representation to ensure that the interests of all religious groups are taken into consideration?
What should be the stipulations that determine a religious group? Should differentiations within a religious traditions be taken into consideration? How do we classify secular groups with similar or differing interests?
Your insight is much appreciated.