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Competing Schemas Within the American Liberal Democracy

An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Differing Perceptions of Church and State


Shannon Holzer

Competing Schemas Within the American Liberal Democracy is a compelling book that dispels many of the common myths concerning Church and State. This book shows that how one approaches the subject of religion and politics largely determines what types of conclusions one will draw. Shannon Holzer is not concerned with creating a polemic. Instead, he shows that the subject of Church and State is much wider in scope than strict separationists would have one believe. When most scholars write on the subject of religion and politics they do so from a single academic discipline. The strength of this book lays in the fact that Dr. Holzer is an accomplished scholar in many different academic disciplines and can approach this complex subject from several different areas of inquiry. In doing so, Dr. Holzer offers a more comprehensive approach to the subject. This book makes use of the many relevant disciplines regarding Church and State, including: history, political theory, philosophy of religion, epistemology, legal theory, and history. As such, this text can be used in a multitude of subjects. Scholars will find Competing Schemas Within the American Liberal Democracy to be intellectually stimulating while clearly written and easily comprehended. Whether in the classroom or in one’s personal library, this book is necessary for those who are interested in the highly contentious and often misunderstood subject of Church and State.
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Chapter Five: Rawlsian Liberal Democracy, Religious Reason, and the Disputed View of the Good


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Rawlsian Liberal Democracy, Religious Reason, and the Disputed View of the Good


In chapter one of this book, I said that I would address the claim that if a religious position becomes part of law it is unjust since it is based on a disputed view of the good life that dissenters are not unreasonable in rejecting. In order to do this, I must first give a brief account of John Rawls’ political philosophy, since it is upon his work that many legal scholars and judges stand. Second, I will discuss the legal scholars Stephen Macedo and Ronald Dworkin inasmuch as they use a strict Rawlsian view to suggest the necessity of religious restraint.1 Along with this, I will draw attention to some of the arguments against these strict Rawlsian principles that require a high level of religious restraint. I will also attend to the dialogue between Robert Audi and Nicholas Wolterstorff. With all of this, I will show that there are scholars who give reasonable arguments for rejecting this Rawlsian argument of religious restraint.

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