RELIGION, CIVIC VALUES, AND EQUAL CITIZENSHIP IN THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC POLITY

  • Emily R. Gill Bradley University, Illinois, USA

Abstract

Whether religious and other voluntary associations should reflect public values is a subject of controversy. Corey Brettschneider argues that the state should assert its own values of free and equal citizenship, deliberately attempting to transform the beliefs of illiberal groups through court decisions and through selective withdrawal of tax exemptions. I argue, however, that as long as individuals and groups comply with the law, it is not the business of the state to change their beliefs. Moreover, public authority itself does not always exemplify his preferred values. Second, although I oppose direct funding for organizations that oppose public values, determining which organizations espouse the “right” values accords too much power to public authority. Moreover, many associations evolve over time. Finally, the true threat lies in practices that voluntary associations may seek to impose on the larger community.

Author Biography

Emily R. Gill, Bradley University, Illinois, USA

Emily R. Gill is Caterpillar Professor of Political Science at Bradley University, where she has taught since 1972. In addition to a number of articles and book chapters, she has written two books, Becoming Free: Autonomy and Diversity in the Liberal Polity (Kansas 2001) and An Argument for Same-Sex Marriage: Religious Freedom, Sexual Freedom, and Public Expressions of Civic Equality (Georgetown 2012). Along with Jason Pierceson and lead editor Gordon A. Babst, she has also co-edited Moral Argument, Religion, and Same-Sex Marriage: Advancing the Public Good (Lexington 2009). She is a past president of the American Section, International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy. 

Keywords: religious belief, transformation, civic values, equal citizenship, free expression, free association

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Published
2016-12-29
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