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Religion in Liberal Political Philosophy$
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Cécile Laborde and Aurélia Bardon

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198794394

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198794394.001.0001

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Religious Establishment and Public Justification

Religious Establishment and Public Justification

(p.103) 7 Religious Establishment and Public Justification
Religion in Liberal Political Philosophy

Kevin Vallier

Oxford University Press

This chapter develops a principle that determines when governmental activity constitutes an objectionable form of establishment, either religious or secular. Situated within the theory of public reason liberalism, the principle holds that non-coercive forms of establishment, such as the use of religious symbols in government, are governed by a publicly justified purpose requirement. To be permissible, the relevant governmental act must have a purpose that can be publicly justified to multiple qualified points of view. Given that few acts of establishment, religious or secular, have that purpose, this chapter concludes that public reason liberalism is generally unfriendly to non-coercive establishment.

Keywords:   public reason liberalism, political liberalism, religious establishment, public justification, religious exemptions

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