'Justice is a Bad Idea for Christians': Religious Identity in Liberal Delberation

34 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2011 Last revised: 14 Apr 2011

William P. Umphres

University of Virginia - Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics

Abstract

Religious groups are in danger of becoming the other of liberal democracies at exactly the moment when rapprochement between them seems vital to domestic and international stability. In this paper, I argue that liberal political discourse must make room for explicit appeals to religious reasons or risk alienating and potentially radicalizing religious groups. Drawing on various conceptions of public reason and deliberative democracy, I show that the establishment of trust and solidarity are central to liberalism. In order to fulfill these normative goals, political deliberation must be a space in which citizens can express their basic religious commitments. For, deliberation is in part a process in which individuals express their identities and respond to the identities of others. Excluding religious commitments from political discourse turns politics into a painful, alienating experience, undermining trust and solidarity. Hearing and valuing these commitments is therefore central to the success of the liberal project.

Suggested Citation

Umphres, William P., 'Justice is a Bad Idea for Christians': Religious Identity in Liberal Delberation. Western Political Science Association 2011 Annual Meeting Paper . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1767042

William P. Umphres (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics ( email )

PO Box 400787
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22904
United States

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