Samuel Fleischacker

in Divine Teaching and the Way of the World

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199217366
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728495 | DOI:

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This chapter considers three questions about the relationship between religion and politics: May the state promote a religious faith, if its citizens regard that as something every human being should hold? May citizens use their religious views as grounds for the morality they enshrine in law? and Do religious citizens have a right to seek help from the state if their communities cannot flourish otherwise? To the first two questions, the chapter returns an emphatic “no,” using the argument for a secular morality developed in Part II to buttress John Rawls’s political liberalism. To the third question, it returns a qualified “yes,” using Will Kymlicka’s work as a basis for an argument that communities rooted in a shared religion deserve the same protection and aid from the state to which other cultural communities are entitled. The nature of religious community is also explored, and the notion floated that cultures may paradigmatically be groups bound together by a shared religious heritage (including people who no longer believe in the religion).

Keywords: political liberalism; Locke; Rawls; Kymlicka; culture

Chapter.  17640 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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