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Faith in Politics


  • Page extent: 336 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.73 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521130424)

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$28.99 (P)

No account of contemporary politics can ignore religion. The liberal democratic tradition in political thought has long treated religion with some suspicion, regarding it as a source of division and instability. Faith in Politics shows how such arguments are unpersuasive and dependent on questionable empirical claims: rather than being a serious threat to democracies' legitimacy, stability and freedom, religion can be democratically constructive. Using historical cases of important religious political movements to add empirical weight, Bryan McGraw suggests that religion will remain a significant political force for the foreseeable future and that pluralist democracies would do well to welcome rather than marginalize it.


1. Europe's religious parties and the liberal consensus; 2. The argument for deliberative restraint; 3. The problem with secular reasons; 4. Public reason and religious conflict; 5. Religion and the problem of political autonomy; 6. Making the most of conflict: religion and political toleration; Conclusion. Toward a better sort of liberal democracy.


“Bryan McGraw provides an insightful, compelling treatment of the place of religion in liberal democracy. His empirical and philosophical case prompts readers to rethink existing understandings of tolerance, deliberation, and legitimacy in religiously plural democracies.”
Lucas Swaine, Dartmouth College and author of The Liberal Conscience: Politics and Principle in a World of Religious Pluralism

“In this breakthrough book, Bryan McGraw offers a judicious argument for a new integration of religion and politics. Silencing religion as some liberals would do is no less fundamentalist than establishing religion as some Christians have done, he shows. It is far better for modern democracies to foster open toleration and robust engagement of all forms of faith and non-faith that can test and contest each other's policies. It is also far better for modern faith communities to develop an integrated political theology that balances responsible self-rule with reasonable public advocacy - following the example of several nineteenth-century European religious groups. Political historians and political philosophers will learn much from these learned and elegant pages.”
John Witte, Jr, Emory University

"Bringing a welcome comparative perspective to the subject in Faith in Politics, [McGraw] surveys the history of religious political parties in the democracies that grew up throughout Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries."
Patrick Allitt, Emory University, The Claremont Review of Books

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