The Challenge of Pluralism: Church and State in Five Democracies / Edition 2

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Overview

Now in a thoroughly revised and updated edition, this essential text offers a rigorous, systematic comparison of church-state relations in the United States, Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, and England. As successful and stable political democracies, these five countries share a commitment to protecting the religious rights of their citizens. Yet as the book demonstrates, each has taken substantially different approaches to resolving basic church-state questions. Stephen V. Monsma and J. Christopher Soper examine the historical roots of those differences and explain how each state addresses contemporary church-state issues. The authors judge each government's success in protecting the religious rights of its citizens using a framework based on the ideal of governmental neutrality or evenhandedness toward people of all faiths and of none. Providing clarity on the little-understood, evolving relationship between church and state in the West, this book provides an invaluable comparative analysis of a topic that is increasingly a source of profound political and social conflict. Monsma and Soper conclude that the American conception of church-state separation, with its traditional emphasis on avoiding government establishment of religion, actually discriminates against religious groups by denying access to government services provided to other organizations. The authors persuasively argue that the United States can learn a great deal from other Western nations in promoting religious neutrality and the free exercise of religion.

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Editorial Reviews

Christian Smith
One of my favorite books on religion in public life. On a subject especially in need of light, insight, and balance, its very readable historical, legal, and comparative analyses are most enlightening and fair. I recommend it for college classes and as good reading for ordinary citizens.
Anthony Gill
Praise for the First Edition

Monsma and Soper provide one of the most detailed and best studies of the range of church-state relations in different liberal democracies. They explode the myth of church-state separation in several countries of Europe and make a persuasive case for allowing religion greater space in the public arena than exists in America.

Ted G. Jelen
Praise for the First Edition

Marvelous. The authors perform the rare and difficult feat of generating a genuinely cross-national analysis, while paying strict, detailed attention to the nuances of each country. This book will change the manner in which church-state relations are contested in the United States and is required reading for anyone, at any level.

Acta Politica - Hans-Martien ten Napel
Praise for the First Edition

An eye-opener.

Journal for the Social Scientific Study of Religion - Tokunbo Adelekan
Praise for the First Edition

Monsma and Soper's project opens up the possibility and vitality of constructive religion in American public life.

Australian Journal of Political Science - Michael Hogan
Praise for the First Edition

The argument of the book is not why America is right, but on the contrary, why the other democracies do it better. The methodology is comparative only after the historical evolution of church-state relationships in each society has been examined with some subtlety. It is a model of a worthwhile comparative study.

West European Politics - John T. S. Madeley
Praise for the First Edition

The Challenge of Pluralism is a genuine comparative study undertaken by two political scientists surveying church-state relations and it brings together a great deal of valuable historical, legal, and other information…relevant to its subject.

Journal of Church & State - George Moyser
Praise for the First Edition

An exceptionally illuminating book...this volume is, in short, an excellent piece of scholarship and deserves a wide readership.

Public Policy - Kenneth D. Wald
Praise for the First Edition

As a sourcebook, this volume is without peer. The authors have donea fine job of assembling a remarkable array of material and fashioning it into a coherent whole. The Challenge of Pluralism offers a series of well-executed portraits of five nations that attempt to harmonize the religious sentiments of their citizens with the demands of public policy.

Pro Rege - Jack R. Van Der Slik
Readers of Pro Rege may be surprised to find such insightful and articulate authors writing to such a broad audience with pleasingly familiar insights and arguments. . . . The authors are to be commended for articulating an orthodox Reformed vision of justice for a broken world, and doing so within the parameters of inferences based upon comparative research. . . . Without burdening the text with Reformed terminology, Monsma and Soper have seriously challenged governing elites and their intellectual supporters to actually redeem fallen and sinful structures of contemporary democratic governments. This is exemplary reformational scholarship.
First Things
Praise for the First Edition

A useful comparative study....This survey can help Americans appreciate the peculiarities, both good and bad, of our church-state arrangements.

CHOICE
Praise for the First Edition

The book concludes that state financial aid may actually encourage religious freedom by making it more widely available. Upper-division undergraduates and above.

Journal Of Church and State
Praise for the First Edition

An exceptionally illuminating book...this volume is, in short, an excellent piece of scholarship and deserves a wide readership.
— George Moyser

Public Policy
As a sourcebook, this volume is without peer. The authors have donea fine job of assembling a remarkable array of material and fashioning it into a coherent whole. The Challenge of Pluralism offers a series of well-executed portraits of five nations that attempt to harmonize the religious sentiments of their citizens with the demands of public policy.
— Kenneth D. Wald
Choice
The book concludes that state financial aid may actually encourage religious freedom by making it more widely available. Upper-division undergraduates and above.
Journal of Church and State
An exceptionally illuminating book...this volume is, in short, an excellent piece of scholarship and deserves a wide readership.
— George Moyser
George Moyser
An exceptionally illuminating book...this volume is, in short, an excellent piece of scholarship and derserves a wide readership.
Ted G. Jelen
A marvelous book. The authors perform the rare and difficult feat of generating a genuinely cross-national analysis, while paying strict, detailed attention to the nuances of each country. After reading this book, no one will think about church-state relations in quite the same way. This book will change the manner in which church-state relations are contested in the United States, and is required reading for anyone, at any level.
West European Politics
The Challenge of Pluralism is a genuine comparative study undertaken by two political scientists surveying church-state relations and it brings together a great deal of valuable historical, legal, and other information-some of it very up to date-relevant to its subject.
— John T.S. Madeley, London School of Economics
Australian Journal of Political Science
The argument of the book is not why America is right, but on the contrary, why the other democracies do it better. The methodology is comparative only after the historical evolution of church-state relationships in each society has been examined with some subtlety. It is a model of a worthwhile comparative study.
— Michael Hogan
Journal for the Social Scientific Study of Religion
Monsma and Soper's project opens up the possibility and vitality of constructive religion in American public life.
— Tokunbo Adelekan, Princeton Theological Seminary
Australian Journal Of Political Science
The argument of the book is not why America is right, but on the contrary, why the other democracies do it better. The methodology is comparative only after the historical evolution of church-state relationships in each society has been examined with some subtlety. It is a model of a worthwhile comparative study.
— Michael Hogan
Acta Politica
An eye-opener.
— Hans-Martien ten Napel
CHOICE, July / August 1998, Vol. 35, No. 11 / 12 - H. Zeigler
The book concludes that state financial aid may actually encourage religious freedom by making it more widely available. Upper-division undergraduates and above.
West European Politics - John T.S. Madeley
The Challenge of Pluralism is a genuine comparative study undertaken by two political scientists surveying church-state relations and it brings together a great deal of valuable historical, legal, and other information-some of it very up to date-relevant to its subject.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742554177
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/5/2008
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 278
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen V. Monsma is research fellow in the Paul Henry Institute at Calvin College and emeritus professor of political science at Pepperdine University. J. Christopher Soper is Blanche E. Seaver Professor of Political Science at Pepperdine University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Chapter 1: The United States: Strict Separation under Fire
Chapter 2: The Netherlands: Principled Pluralism
Chapter 3: Australia: Pragmatic Pluralism
Chapter 4: England: Partial Establishment
Chapter 5: Germany: Partnership and Autonomy
Chapter 6: Church and State in Pluralistic Democracies

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