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Religious Voices in Public Places$
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Nigel Biggar and Linda Hogan

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199566624

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199566624.001.0001

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Religion, Rhetoric, and Running for Office

Religion, Rhetoric, and Running for Office

Public Reason on the US Campaign Trail

Chapter:
(p.260) 11 Religion, Rhetoric, and Running for Office
Source:
Religious Voices in Public Places
Author(s):

Brian Stiltner

Steven Michels

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199566624.003.0012

Political campaigning has received relatively scant attention in the literature on public reason. This chapter examines the rhetoric of the four major candidates for U.S. president in 2008. These candidates serve as case studies of how American politicians present religious identities in public and how they address controversial issues concerning religion. It argues that while none of the candidates violated the basic requirements of public reason in their use of religious language, some of them created difficulties for themselves by using inauthentic or sectarian language. The candidacy of Barack Obama demonstrated the value of a capacious approach to public reason, an approach that makes connections between public purposes and the values that candidates and citizens hold dear.

Keywords:   Barack Obama, public reason, Rawls, religious rhetoric, political campaigning, American politicians

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