By Sally Steenland (editor)
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Additional resources for Debating the Divine, Religion in 21st Century American Democracy
2 On these points, they both are right,3 and any tension between the two positions can be resolved by demanding that actual rationales for public policies must be translated into secular language, accessible to and preserving of secular debate—even while the very conceptions of a common good, larger than any individual or group itself, can be sustained and replenished through the religious commitments of individuals. In a religiously diverse society, the precise religious gestures that may solemnize events, vouch for individuals, or motivate some constituents may baffle or alienate others.
A state can work with religious providers of welfare and social services, but only if the providers do not violate state and local anti-discrimination employment law and if they ensure the freedom of religion and expression by participants. A religious (or for-profit) provider can run corrections facilities, but cannot bypass the rule of law’s due-process protections. 38 • Debating the Divine Contract and voucher plans must have these public strings attached. Decisions to contract out or use vouchers for private programs must be subjected to ongoing review individually and taken together in light of the larger public goals of strengthening equality, mutual respect, and a sense of community across lines of difference.
It is well to remember, however, that an encounter with genuine religious diversity can often produce the opposite result—social fragmentation, fueled by fear. ” In both the Hollinger and Patel essays, there is too little attention paid to the concept of power and conflict in political life. When religious and secular actors engage the public square, when any actor engages the public square, they are doing so in order to garner sufficient power to achieve a 46 • Debating the Divine given end. This fact of political life does not mean pluralism is not possible—it is simply a fact of life.
Debating the Divine, Religion in 21st Century American Democracy by Sally Steenland (editor)