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With God on All SidesLeadership in a Devout and Diverse America$
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Douglas A. Hicks

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195337174

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195337174.001.0001

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How Deep Is the Water?

How Deep Is the Water?

(p.63) 5 How Deep Is the Water?
With God on All Sides

Douglas A Hicks (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Inviting generic “spirituality” into public debates does little to solve questions of religious practice. Secularism relegates religious language and symbols to the so-called private sphere. Calling all Americans to speak to each other only in terms of “public reason” tends to silence people who view their faith-based convictions as fundamentally linked to their understanding of a good and just society. Would Americans have been correct to demand that Martin Luther King, Jr. leave his religious language out of his social justice work? Would we similarly forbid our public-school students from wearing veils or headscarves, as the French have done? Such acts would run counter to the freedom of religious expression protected in the First Amendment. The issue should not be religion or no religion. Instead, it is necessary to ask: Religion in public life under what terms?

Keywords:   headscarves, public reason, religious practice, secularism, spirituality, veils

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