Journal of Religious Ethics 22 (1):39 - 46 (1994)

Abstract
Paul Weithman's defense of Rawls's position on the public role of religion is not convincing. "Public reason," understood as that form of rationality on which consensus exists in society, is insufficient to settle important disputed questions of justice. In circumstances where the ideal of a "well-ordered society" has not been achieved, Rawls permits appeals to religious ideas, provided these strengthen public reason as the criterion of justice. This insufficiently acknowledges the importance of culture (which Rawls views as "nonpublic") in public and political life. Rawls's understanding of public life, and of religion's role in it, is excessively abstract and ahistorical.
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