Article

Religious Liberty as a Democratic Institution

Ted G. Jelen

in The Oxford Handbook of Church and State in the United States

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780195326246
Published online January 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195326246.003.0011

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Religious Liberty as a Democratic Institution

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In the early twenty-first century, the political role of religion is central in the United States and the world. This rise in the political role of religion is seen in the politically assertive Islam, the emergence of permissible limitations on religious liberty, and the significance of religion in political discourses such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and other issues. This article discusses the contributions of religious liberty to democracy. It discusses the role of religious liberty in facilitating the self-governance of citizens living in democratic systems, with particular emphasis on democracy as self-governance. The article does not intend to discuss theological claims; rather, it provides a direct discussion of constitutional interpretation. The intention is not to discuss constitutional or human rights in relation to the role of religious liberty in democracy, but to assess the consequences of religious liberty for the practice of democratic governance.

Keywords: political role; religion; role of religion; religious liberty; democracy; self-governance; governance; liberty

Article.  9127 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Comparative Politics

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