The Religious Left and Church-State Relations

The Religious Left and Church-State Relations

by Steven H. Shiffrin
     
 

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

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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.

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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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