Love and Power: The Role of Religion and Morality in American Politics

Love and Power: The Role of Religion and Morality in American Politics

Love and Power: The Role of Religion and Morality in American Politics

Love and Power: The Role of Religion and Morality in American Politics

Synopsis

In this sequel to his Morality, Politics, and Law, Michael Perry addresses the proper relation of moral convictions to the politics of a morally pluralistic society. While his analysis focuses on religious morality, Perry's argument applies to morality generally. Contending that no justification of a contested political choice can be neutral among competing conceptions of human good, the author develops an ideal of "ecumenical politics" in which moral convictions about human good can be brought to bear in a productive way in political argument.

Excerpt

This book is about the proper relation of morality to politics in a morally pluralistic society like the United States. More precisely, it is about the proper relation of a person's moral beliefs to her political choices and, especially, to her public deliberation about and her public justification of political choices. I am principally concerned here with religious morality--with moral beliefs religious in character--because the problem of the proper relation of religious morality to politics poses the issues I want to address about morality and politics in their most controversial and difficult form. The constructive part of my argument (as distinct from the critical part), therefore, is directed mainly at religious-moral beliefs. However, much of what I have to say about the proper relation of religious morality to politics is meant to apply not just to religious morality but to morality generally, including secular morality.

I am principally concerned, too, with the proper relation of morality to politics in American society, not only because I live in the United States but, more important, because the problem of the proper relation of morality, especially religious morality, to politics has arisen with a special urgency in American society. In the contemporary United States more, it seems, than in any other advanced industrial society, there has been "a breakdown in understanding how personal and communal beliefs should be related to public life." Much of what I have to say in this book, however, is meant to apply to the problem of morality and politics as it arises in any morally/religiously pluralistic society.

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