Political Theory 33 (6):812-839 (2005)

Daniel Brudney
University of Chicago
In this essay, I raise the question of whether some degree of noncoercive state support for religious conceptions (broadly understood) should be left to the majoritarian branch ofgovernment. I argue that the reason not to do so is that such state support would alienate many citizens. However to take this as a sufficient reason to constrain the majoritarian branch is to accept the thesis that not being alienated from one's polity is a significant part of the human good. Those who would prohibit even a small amount of noncoercive support of religious conceptions must appeal either to pragmatic considerations (the worry that noncoercive will lead to coercive support, i.e., to tyranny) or to a conception of the good that puts great value on the agent's sense of connectedness to the polity. And the latter is something that reasonable citizens in a modern democracy could reasonably reject.
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DOI 10.1177/0090591705280371
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