Democracy, Religion and the Public Sphere

Dissertation, Fordham University (1998)

In liberal democracies such as America, the mixing of religion and politics is often thought to be prohibited by the demands of good citizenship. However, religion and politics should not be prevented from mixing. The formulation of the general interest requires the participation of citizens in political debate. Also, the exclusion of religion from the public sphere discriminates against religious individuals. Finally, it redounds to the detriment of the poor and powerless, for whom religious institutions, groups and individuals have historically been a voice. ;But if religion and politics should mix, they should mix in such a way that the separation between church and state is retained. Institutional separation has proven beneficial for both church and state. It is especially necessary for the protection of religious liberty. ;Separation entails state neutrality and impartiality towards religion. Government should do nothing that compels citizens to be religious, or to be religious in a particular way. This does not mean that the state should be indifferent towards religion. Separation is not an end in itself, but a means to an end--the free exercise of religion. ;Separation does not entail church neutrality and impartiality towards the state. In many cases, this would amount to an abdication of the church's responsibility to be a moral teacher. There are reasons that churches and clerics should refrain from explicit political advocacy, but none of these reasons have anything to do with the principle of liberal democracy. ;Nor does the separation between church and state entail a separation between religion and politics on the part of a citizen. The demands of good citizenship in a liberal democracy do place some burdens on religious individuals with respect to electoral support, but they do not place burdens on religious advocacy in the public sphere. On the contrary, good citizenship demands religious advocacy in the public sphere. Still, a religious citizen must be wary of the ideological role that religion can play.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 43,759
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Freedom of Religion, Democracy and the Fact of Pluralism.Omid Payrow Shabani - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 50:729-747.
Kevin Vallier, Liberal Politics and Public Faith. Beyond Separation.Giulia Bistagnino - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (5):1107-1109.


Added to PP index

Total views
1 ( #1,352,890 of 2,264,820 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #861,388 of 2,264,820 )

How can I increase my downloads?


Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes

Sign in to use this feature