Under God?: Religious Faith and Liberal Democracy / Edition 1

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The proper role of religious faith in the public life of a liberal democracy is one of the most important and controversial issues in the United States today. In this new book, Michael J. Perry argues that political reliance on religious faith violate neither the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution nor, more broadly, the morality of liberal democracy. Nonetheless, Perry argues, religious believers sometimes have good reasons to be wary about relying on religious beliefs in making political decisions. Along the way, Perry thoughtfully addresses three subjects at the center of fierce contemporary political debate: school vouchers, same-sex marriage, and abortion.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...makes a valuable contribution to the literature..." Lucinda Peach, American University, Social Theory and Practice

"Michael Perry's is one of the most important voices in the legal academy on matters of constitutional law, religion, and the intersection between them...The book is distinctive because it addresses diverse audiences—believers and nonbelievers, Christians and non-Christians, liberal Catholics and conservative evangelicals—in an effort to bring these audiences together into a more encompassing conversation. And the book always keeps the concrete issues (vouchers, abortion, same-sex unions) in the foreground, preventing the discussion from losing itself in abstraction." Steven D. Smith, author of Foreordained Failure: The Quest for the Constitutional Principle of Religious Freedom

"Perry argues on jurisprudential grounds for vigorous participation by religious voices in public debates about law and policy. He also argues for self-restraint by religious communities on both theological and ethical grounds. Under God? shows how Perry thinks religious communities should behave in public when given the freedom his jurisprudence calls for. A most valuable contribution on a question of crucial importance to democratic life." David Hollenbach, S.J., Flatley Professor of Theology, Boston College

"With this book, Michael Perry builds on his already secure reputation as one of our most astute, incisive, and level-headed theorists concerning the role of religion in our public square. As in all of Perryas work, whatas impressive is the unusual blend of sophisticated theory and concrete examples. What is especially impressive about this particular collection is Perryas ability and willingness to think against the grain - even exemplary final chapters on Religion, Politics, and Abortion." Nicholas Wolterstorff, Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology, Yale University

"I have nothing but admiration for Michael Perry's new book. The positions Perry defends comprise a distinctive and nuanced mix of theses that, when taken as a whole constitute a vision of religious political activity that is at the same time genuinely religious and humane, ecumenical and principled, wise and pragmatic. The book is a major contribution to a contentious topic by one of the leading figures in a field, a figure whose position has continued to evolve, and thus whose continued reflections on these matters deserves scrutiny." Christopher J. Eberle, author of Religious Conviction in Liberal Politics

"In this new book, legal scholar Michael Perry argues persuasively and precisely that this American consensus is correct: that there is, in fact, a place in our public square for 'political reliance on religiously grounded morality,'...Perry's argument in this book opens with a tightly reasoned exposition of the First Amendment's 'nonestablishment norm': 'Government may not take any action that favors a church in relation to another church, or in relation to no church at all, on the basis of the view that the favored church is, as a church...better along one or another dimension of value.'...Perry's project deserves believers' praise and attention." National Review

"Perry has written a sane, lucid, prudent, wise and moderate volume. It makes good political sense" The Journal of Religion Ashley Woodiwiss, Wheaton College

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521532174
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 220
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Controversy over Religion in Politics
1 What Does the Establishment Clause Forbid? Reflections on the Constitutionality of School Vouchers 3
2 Why Political Reliance on Religiously Grounded Morality Does Not Violate the Establishment Clause 20
3 Why Political Reliance on Religiously Grounded Morality Is Not Illegitimate in a Liberal Democracy 35
4 Christians, the Bible, and Same-Sex Unions: An Argument for Political Self-Restraint 55
5 Catholics, the Magisterium, and Same-Sex Unions: An Argument for Independent Judgment 86
6 Religion, Politics, and Abortion 98
Conclusion: "This Nation, Under God" 124
Notes 131
Index 193
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