Religion In Politics In Essay

Contemporary philosophical defenses of outright establishment of a church or faith are few, but a famous defense of establishment was given by T. As a result, he argued, such a society would degenerate into tyranny and/or social and cultural fragmentation.Even today, there are strains of conservatism that argue for establishment by emphasizing the benefits that will accrue to the political system or society at large (Scruton, 1980).

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Contemporary liberals typically appeal to the value of fairness.

It is claimed, for example, that the state should remain neutral among religions because it is unfair—especially for a democratic government that is supposed to represent all of the people composing its —to intentionally disadvantage (or unequally favor) any group of citizens in their pursuit of the good as they understand it, religious or otherwise (Rawls, 1971).

From the perspective of many religious people themselves, moreover, there are worries that a political role for their religion may well corrupt their faith community and its mission.

As European and American societies faced the growing plurality of religious beliefs, communities, and institutions in the early modern era, one of the paramount social problems was determining whether and to what extent they should be tolerated.

A weaker form of an established church is what Robert Bellah (1967: 3-4) calls “civil religion,” in which a particular church or religion does not exactly have official status, and yet the state uses religious concepts in an explicitly public way.

For an example of civil religion, he points to Abraham Lincoln’s use of Christian imagery of slavery and freedom in justifying the American Civil War. Trained as a philosopher (he completed, but did not defend, a dissertation at Harvard on the philosophy of F. Bradley) and deeply influenced by Aristotle, Eliot believed that democratic societies rejected the influence of an established church at their peril, for in doing so they cut themselves off from the kind of ethical wisdom that can come only from participation in a tradition.These arrangements include the following: Note that these options are not mutually exclusive—a state could adopt some or all of these measures.What is central to them is they each involve the conferral of some sort of official status.Rather than emphasizing the distinctively political benefits of establishment, a different version of this argument could appeal to the ethical benefits that would accrue to citizens themselves as private individuals.For example, on many understandings of politics, one of the purposes of the is to ensure that citizens have the resources necessary for living a choiceworthy, flourishing life.This cohesion in turn is dependent on a substantial amount of cultural homogeneity, especially with respect to adherence to certain values.One way of ensuring this kind of homogeneity is to enact one of the forms of establishment mentioned above, such as displaying religious symbols in political buildings and monuments, or by including references to a particular religion in political ceremonies.If all people have such a right, then it is morally wrong for the state to force them to participate in religious practices and institutions that they would otherwise oppose, such as forcing them to take part in public prayer.It is also wrong, for the same reason, to force people to support financially (via taxation) religious institutions and communities that they would not otherwise wish to support.The second pair of sections is devoted to problems that, for the most part, have come to the fore of discussion only in recent times: (3) liberal citizenship and its demands on private self-understanding; and (4) the role of religion in public deliberation.While the topic of establishment has receded in importance at present, it has been central to political thought in the West since at least the days of Constantine.

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