The Religious Left and Church-State Relations

The Religious Left and Church-State Relations

by Steven H. Shiffrin
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0691141444

ISBN-13: 9780691141442

Pub. Date: 07/27/2009

Publisher: Princeton University Press

In The Religious Left and Church-State Relations, noted constitutional law scholar Steven Shiffrin argues that the religious left, not the secular left, is best equipped to lead the battle against the religious right on questions of church and state in America today. Explaining that the chosen rhetoric of secular liberals is poorly equipped to argue against

Overview

In The Religious Left and Church-State Relations, noted constitutional law scholar Steven Shiffrin argues that the religious left, not the secular left, is best equipped to lead the battle against the religious right on questions of church and state in America today. Explaining that the chosen rhetoric of secular liberals is poorly equipped to argue against religious conservatives, Shiffrin shows that all progressives, religious and secular, must appeal to broader values promoting religious liberty. He demonstrates that the separation of church and state serves to protect religions from political manipulation while tight connections between church and state compromise the integrity of religious institutions.

Shiffrin discusses the pluralistic foundations of the religion clauses in the First Amendment and asserts that the clauses cannot be confined to the protection of liberty, equality, or equal liberty. He explores the constitutional framework of religious liberalism, applying it to controversial examples, including the Pledge of Allegiance, the government's use of religious symbols, the teaching of evolution in public schools, and school vouchers. Shiffrin examines how the approaches of secular liberalism toward church-state relations have been misguided philosophically and politically, and he illustrates why theological arguments hold an important democratic position—not in courtrooms or halls of government, but in the public dialogue. The book contends that the great issue of American religious politics is not whether religions should be supported at all, but how religions can best be strengthened and preserved.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691141442
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
07/27/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Introduction 1

PART I: THE PLURALISTIC FOUNDATIONS OF THE RELIGION CLAUSES 9

Chapter 1. Overview of Part I 11

Chapter 2. The Free Exercise Clause 16
The Court's Approach 16
Liberal Theory 17
Communitarian Theory 18
Free Exercise Values 20
Applying the Free Exercise Clause 23

Chapter 3. Establishment Clause Values 28
Liberty and Autonomy 29
Equality 30
Stability 31
Promoting Political Community 31
Protecting the Autonomy of Government 32
Protecting Churches 32
Promoting Religion 34

Chapter 4. Applying the Establishment Clause 41
Acceptable Deviations from Equality 42
Unacceptable Conformity with Equality:
Equality in the Public School Classroom 54
Concluding Observations about Part I 58

PART II: THE FIRST AMENDMENT AND THE SOCIALIZATION OF CHILDREN: COMPULSORY PUBLIC EDUCATION AND VOUCHERS 61

Chapter 5. Compulsory Public Education 63
Pierce v. Society of Sisters: A Landmark Case 65
The Purposes of Public Education 68
The Limits of Compulsory Public Education 74
Constitutional? Sometimes. Good Public Policy? No. 80
Chapter 6. Vouchers 82
Are Vouchers Constitutionally Required? 82
Wise Policy for Preadolescents? 83
Should Vouchers Be Constitutionally Permitted for Religious Schools? 86
Concluding Observations about Part II 93

PART III . RELIGION AND PROGRESSIVE POLITICS 95

Chapter 7. Religion and Progressive Politics 97
Secular Liberalism 100
Religious Liberalism 106
Chapter 8. The Politics of Liberalism 110
The Relative Political Attractiveness of Secular and Religious Liberalism 110
Religion and American Party Politics 125
Grassroots Democracy, Liberal Politics, and Excessive Religious Hostility 127

Conclusion 134
Notes 137
Index 237

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