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The Pretenses of LoyaltyLocke, Liberal Theory, and American Political Theology$
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John Perry

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199756544

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756544.001.0001

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A Letter concerning Toleration

A Letter concerning Toleration

Locke Turns to Loyalty—and Beyond

(p.103) 4 A Letter concerning Toleration
The Pretenses of Loyalty

John Perry

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a new reading of Locke's Letter concerning Toleration in light of the preceding chapter's study of his earlier opposition to toleration. Though he initially believed toleration was a threat to peace, he came to believe that toleration could in fact secure peace but only if most believers could first be convinced on theological grounds that supporting a policy of governmental neutrality did not itself violate loyalty to God or neighbor. Having offered a new account of Christian political theology to harmonize loyalty to God and toleration in this way, Locke was then, but only then, to advocate a policy of abstract respect.

Keywords:   Locke, Letter concerning Toleration, ecclesiology, governmental neutrality, toleration, theology, Limborch, rights

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