Rawls and Religion: The Case for Political Liberalism
Baird, Robert, Journal of Church and State
Rawls and Religion: The CAse for Political Liberalism. By Donald A. Dombrowski. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 2001. 192 pp. $19.95.
How can individuals disagreeing over the most important and comprehensive issues of life live together harmoniously in a stable society's John Rawls's Political Liberalism is a thorough effort to answer this question. Since religious beliefs are among the most deeply felt of our comprehensive views, differences in those beliefs tend to be the most contentious. To confirm this fact, one need only consider the brutality of religious wars throughout human history. Understanding Rawls's attitude toward religion, therefore, is crucial to understanding his liberalism. The purpose of Dombrowski's work is to explicate and defend Rawls's perspective on the role of religion in a just society.
In the process, Dombrowski discusses directly or by implication Rawls's defense of religious liberty and his emphasis on the importance of mutual religious tolerance; his appreciation of the role religion can play in establishing political stability by contributing to an overlapping political consensus; his defense of the separation of church and state and the contribution of such separation to the vitality of religion; his constrained attitude toward intolerant religions; and his view of the role of religious arguments in the public square. In analyzing Rawls's views on these matters, Dombrowski attempts to counter the claim that Rawls has "privatized" religion. Far from privatizing religion, Dombrowski argues, Rawls anticipates its continued public role and relishes the contribution that religion can make to an overlapping political consensus.
Dombrowski gives considerable attention to one of the issues mentioned above: the proper role of religious arguments in the public or political arena. His discussion is a helpful guide through the important, intense, and complex public conversation taking place concerning this matter among such thinkers as Rawls, Nicolas Wolterstorff, Robert Audi, Charles Larmore, Stephen Carter, Stephen Macedo, William Galston, Richard Rorty, Paul Weithman, Philip Quinn, and others. Rawls's claim, defended by …
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Publication information: Article title: Rawls and Religion: The Case for Political Liberalism. Contributors: Baird, Robert - Author. Journal title: Journal of Church and State. Volume: 44. Issue: 4 Publication date: Autumn 2002. Page number: 843+. © 1999 J.M. Dawson Studies in Church and State. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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