Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

Intellectual challenges contribute to the growth of knowledge. As happens frequently in the academy—but never enough—students challenge the professor to apply his or her learned perceptions to particular theoretical and practical problems. I deeply appreciate the many times that students...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-6

Hosea’s pronouncement about reaping the whirlwind has resonated through the millennia, particularly in moments of anxiety and foreboding. Indeed, this Old Testament aphorism looms as a dark warning. Its imagery suggests that the sowing of something common yet vaguely malevolent, like the wind, will reap a destructive harvest, like the whirlwind...

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Part One: Religion and Politics

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pp. 7-10

Modern liberal democracies enshrine freedom of religion, including freedom of religious association and expression. Defending individual choice and tolerance, the secular state abides a civil society rife with sectarianism. And the public square tolerates the politicization of religion...

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1 Mixing Religion and Politics: The Case of the Ten Commandments

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pp. 11-31

In contemporary arenas of public opinion and the public square, disquieting issues of religion and politics abound among private citizens and public officials. Unresolved ethical issues, such as those regarding embryonic stem-cell research, elective abortion, euthanasia, pornography, same-sex marriage,...

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2 Religion, History, and Logic: The Genetic Fallacy

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pp. 32-44

At the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Pastors in 2005, former chief justice Roy S. Moore proclaimed, “We’ve been deceived by a government that tells us we cannot worship God—contradictory to history, contradictory to law, and contradictory to logic.”1 This proclamation epitomizes...

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Part Two: The Foundation and Structure of the Modern State

Founded on flawed logic, the universal Christian commonwealth of the medieval era collapsed, bringing suspicion on the efficacy of the medieval worldview. From the Scientific Revolution to the Protestant Reformation and the advent of liberal politics, doubts brought about a new axial period in history. The 350 years from the mid-sixteenth to the...

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3 Axes of History: Abandoning the Universal Christian Commonwealth

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pp. 47-66

Founded on flawed logic, the universal Christian commonwealth of the medieval era collapsed, bringing suspicion on the efficacy of the medieval worldview. From the Scientific Revolution to the Protestant Reformation and the advent of liberal politics, doubts brought about a new axial period in history. The 350 years from the mid-sixteenth to the...

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4 The Religious Axis: Rationality, Conscience, and Liberty

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pp. 67-91

Governments and societies based on liberal democratic values and institutions vary in important ways. One of the more critical elements affecting the dynamics of liberal democratic regimes involves the expectations of and limits upon the role of religion in politics. The question of whether religion should be relegated to civil society or elevated to a privileged position...

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5 Constitutional Protection: America, Religious Liberty, and the Factional Imperative

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pp. 92-122

To stand firm in the face of arguments for strong church–state relations based on flawed but emotionally powerful appeals to history, the three commitments of the religious axis require the cultural and institutional protection of liberal democracy. The culture of civil society inculcates and maintains...

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Part Three: Challengers to Liberal Democracy and the Religious Axis

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pp. 123-126

Liberal democracy has evolved and developed in theoretical complexity and political sophistication since the religious axis. During the past 350 years, its cause has steadily gained converts, spreading around the globe to overthrow hereditary monarchies and replace totalitarian systems. Liberal democracy, in a variety of incarnations, now serves as the predominant regime...

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6 Mormons and Evangelicals: Uneasy Coalitions in the Public Square

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pp. 127-156

The political institutions of liberal democracy and the competition among sectarian interests in civil society serve to restrain the factional imperative of religion in the public square. Civil society inculcates acceptance of the three commitments of the religious axis—rational empiricism, individual conscience...

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7 Liberation Theology’s Methodological Insurgency: Confronting Liberal Democracy

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pp. 157-183

After his narrow victory over Al Gore in the 2000 election, the popularity of U.S. President George W. Bush began to rise, in response to his strong military response to al-Qaeda’s assaults of September 11, 2001, and to his advocacy of “compassionate conservatism.” In the 2002 off-year election for open seats in the U.S. Congress, growing confidence in Bush and in the Republican...

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8 Islam and the State: Modifying Liberal Democracy

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pp. 184-207

During the twentieth century, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics conducted a social experiment to resolve the persistent failures regarding liberty and justice that have plagued liberal democracies. Vladimir Lenin and the Bolshevik Party in Russia, founders of the Soviet state, implemented policies based on political and economic critiques...

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9 Christian Reconstructionism: Defying the Religious Axis

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pp. 208-240

In addition to Muslim countries, predominantly Christian countries may also be tempted to establish a privileged position for the Christian faith or for a particular Christian sect. Succumbing to temptation, advocates of religious establishment directly challenge the legitimacy of the third commitment of the religious axis—religious liberty over religious toleration...

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Part Four: Conclusion

Classical liberalism postulates innate rights promoting the value of individual and organizational freedom of conscience and association. Democratic theory focuses on the value of participatory politics to attain the common good. The triangular configuration of the three commitments of the religious axis provides the strength to maintain a tension between...

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10 The End of Civil Society

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pp. 243-260

Religion is seldom a strictly private matter; most expressions of religion have been “deprivatized.”1 The deprivatization of religion— the development of political theologies, emergence of prophetic movements in civil society, sectarian activism in the public square, mobilization of religious...

Notes

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pp. 261-300

Bibliography

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pp. 301-324

Index

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pp. 325-342