Liberal political theorists are often accused of "privatizing" religion; the work of philosopher John Rawls has been especially subject to this criticism. I begin by examining what is meant by "privatization." I then consider the criticisms of Rawls advanced by Timothy Jackson, David Hollenbach, and John Langan. I argue (1) that Rawls does not privatize religion to the extent that his critics believe and (2) that criticisms of what privatization of religion Rawls does defend cannot be sustained.
In his essay "Natural Law, Property, and Justice," B. Andrew Lustig argues for what he calls "significant correspondences" between John Locke's theory of property and scholastic theories of property on the one hand, and between Locke's theory and contemporary Catholic social teaching on the other. These correspondences, Lustig claims, establish an intellectual "tradition of property in common." I argue that linking Aquinas--even via Locke--to the redistributivism of contemporary Catholic social teaching requires distorting his political theory. This distortion, I argue, obscures (...) the possibility of using Aquinas's political theory as a basis for radical social criticism. (shrink)