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Kevin VallierLiberal Politics and Public Faith: Beyond Separation

Routledge, 2014

by Robert Talisse on July 1, 2015

Kevin Vallier

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In a liberal democracy, citizens share political power as equals. This means that they must decide laws and policies collectively. Yet they disagree about fundamental questions regarding the value, purpose, and meaning of life. What role should their convictions concerning these matters play in their public activity as citizens? According to familiar answers, citizens must bracket or constrain the role that their religious convictions plays in their public lives. But many religious citizens find this unacceptable. Some of these hold that their religious views should determine law and policy. But that, too, looks unacceptable.

In Liberal Politics and Public Faith: Beyond Separation (Routledge, 2014), Kevin Vallier develops a novel view of the role of religious conviction and reasoning in liberal democracy. On his view, religious citizens will rarely need to constrain the role that their religious convictions play in their public activities. However, Vallier also contends that public officials and institutions cannot determine public policy solely on the basis of religious reasons.

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