Equality in America: Religion, Race, and the Urban Majority

Equality in America: Religion, Race, and the Urban Majority

Equality in America: Religion, Race, and the Urban Majority

Equality in America: Religion, Race, and the Urban Majority

Excerpt

In a narrow sense this book is composed of three essays on topics of current interest to most Americans: religion and politics, racial segregation, and state legislative apportionment. In this narrow sense, the book is guided by three notable Supreme Court cases, the prayer in the public schools case of Engel v. Vitale (1962), the school desegregation case of Brown v. Board of Education (1954), and the legislative reapportionment case of Baker v. Carr (1962). But this book is really concerned with a much larger topic: equality in religion, race, and representation.

Equality, like freedom, involves a relationship. If every man seeks to be free, every freedom-seeking man becomes in some way an obstacle in the path of someone else's freedom. For questions of freedom eventually resolve themselves into questions of "whose freedom to do what, affecting whom?" Historically, the question of "whose freedom?" has tended to be answered by the query "whose power?" Thus, were absolute freedom possible, it would have consisted of nothing less than absolute power. Yet, as political power became ever more broadly based, its correlative, freedom, became more widely distributed. A decision on matters of religious faith, for instance, once the prerogative of the king, later the privilege of Parliament, became eventually the choice of individuals, as the base of public power changed. The democratization of . . .

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