Institutions of Conscience: Politics and Principle in a World of Religious Pluralism

Swaine, Lucas A.
March 2003
Ethical Theory & Moral Practice;Mar2003, Vol. 6 Issue 1, p93
Academic Journal
This article considers the difficult question of whether there are any reasons for theocratic religious devotees to affirm liberalism and liberal institutions. Swaine argues not only that there are reasons for theocrats to affirm liberalism, but that theocrats are committed rationally to three normative principles of liberty of conscience, as well. Swaine subsequently discusses three institutional and strategic implications of his arguments. First, he outlines an option of semisovereignty for theocratic communities in liberal democracies, and explains why an appropriate valuation of liberty of conscience may justify a standard of that kind. Second, he addresses the question of permissible government aid for religion and symbolic endorsement of religious groups. Third, Swaine considers innovations and new approaches that could be employed internationally to better display liberal government's affirmation of religiosity, to promote liberty of conscience, and to help improve relations between liberal and theocratic parties around the globe.


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