Chapter

Religious Pluralism, Political Incentives, and the Origins of Religious Liberty

Anthony Gill

in The Future of Religious Freedom

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199930890
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980581 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199930890.003.0005
Religious Pluralism, Political Incentives, and the Origins of Religious Liberty

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This chapter presents a theory about the origins of religious liberty as rooted in religious pluralism and the political incentives to recognize and protect it. The argument of the chapter is that political leaders will favour religious liberty when they perceive its tangible benefits to their political aims. By applying a religious economies framework, the chapter demonstrates how conditions of religious pluralism enhance such political incentives, which in turn help to propel greater pluralism. The chapter applies this model by comparing expansion of religious pluralism and freedom in the American colonies in the 18th Century with that of Latin America in the 20th Century.

Keywords: religious liberty; religious pluralism; political incentives; religious markets; religion in American colonies; Latin America churches; religious competition; market theory of religion

Chapter.  10562 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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