Religion and the Ritual of Public Discourse1

Abstract
What role should religion play in public discourse? Not too long ago, Richard Rorty argued, in more than one place, that religion is a "conversation stopper" which polite people refer to only in private conversations.2 Religious believers complain, however, that this practice renders it impossible for them to participate in public discourse. They ask whether a democratic community is worthy of the name if it effectively forbids (by custom or legislation) a significant segment of its citizens from acknowledging and drawing upon their own traditions to help justify their moral and political claims?3In Democracy and Tradition, Jeffrey Stout argued that democratic communities are established by cultivating the habit ..
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