The Liberty of Citizens and the Responsibilities of Government

Robert Audi

in Democratic Authority and the Separation of Church and State

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199796083
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919345 | DOI:
The Liberty of Citizens and the Responsibilities of Government

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This chapter explains and defends three principles of church-state separation, one requiring government to protect religious liberty, the second requiring government to treat different religious equally, and the third requiring governmental neutrality toward religion. These principles rule out the state’s establishing a religion, but they do not require governmental neutrality in matters of basic value. Value commitments need not be religious, and it is argued that a system of compulsory education requires making them. In the light of the principles the chapter defends, its concluding section explores whether a democracy may properly give educational vouchers that allow parents to educate their children in schools of their choice.

Keywords: democratic authority; educational vouchers; equality; establishment of religion; the harm principle; John Stuart Mill; liberty; neutrality; science education; value

Chapter.  6613 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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