Why Politics Needs Religion: The Place of Religious Arguments in the Public Square
Hudnut-Beumler, James, Journal of Church and State
Why Politics Needs Religion: The Place of Religious Arguments in the Public Square. By Brendan Sweetman. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2006. 256pp. $19.00 paper.
Brendan Sweetman is a philosopher with an old-fashioned belief that politics begins with a moral question (what is the right thing to do? or, what is the right way to live?) Only then, he believes, should politics address the legal question of making laws to promote what is good, advisable, and permissible for people. He is naturally frustrated, then, that so many citizens with religious values abdicate these values in the political realm in the name of being tolerant and/or due to a belief that the U.S. Constitution prohibits religion from having a public role. In his view, these popular, but misguided beliefs are fostered by liberal political theorists with a pervasive secularist agenda, who are themselves every bit as committed to non-neutral views of the way things are (or worldviews) as are the religious people and traditions the secularists wish to silence on the supposed grounds that religion is not rational.
In several chapters, Sweetman builds his case that secularism is a quasireligious worldview; moreover, he contends that religious worldviews are just as rational as secularist views. He then makes an effective argument that all such worldviews deserve to contend politically with one another in American democracy.
For this reader, the most delightful part of this book is Sweetman's dispelling of eight popular arguments for why politics should be a religion-free zone: that religious beliefs cannot be based upon evidence and reason, …
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Publication information: Article title: Why Politics Needs Religion: The Place of Religious Arguments in the Public Square. Contributors: Hudnut-Beumler, James - Author. Journal title: Journal of Church and State. Volume: 49. Issue: 3 Publication date: Summer 2007. Page number: 555+. © 1999 J.M. Dawson Studies in Church and State. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.