Religious Autonomy and the Limited State

in God's Economy

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780226134833
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226134857 | DOI:
Religious Autonomy and the Limited State

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In a public debate dominated by ideological interest groups that thrive on creating fear about religion, the intellectual genealogy of the faith-based initiative was not well understood. Yet because of its religious ideas, the faith-based initiative holds the key to a new debate on poverty, one that neither side of the culture war is prepared to have. This chapter examines the Catholic and Dutch Calvinist theories of the limited state that shaped the design and implementation of the faith-based initiative in America. It first looks at the Catholic concept of subsidiarity before turning to the concept of sphere sovereignty developed by the Dutch Calvinist statesman and theologian Abraham Kuyper. The chapter also discusses Christian Democracy as opposed to Christian America, as well as social pluralism whose leading English theorists were John Neville Figgis and Harold Laski. Finally, it looks at Germany, in which confessional critics of the Weimar Republic's social-democratic welfare system helped pave the way for the Nazi seizure of power.

Keywords: limited state; faith-based initiative; America; subsidiarity; sphere sovereignty; Abraham Kuyper; Christian Democracy; social pluralism; Germany

Chapter.  25807 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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