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Faith in Politics
Religion and Liberal Democracy


  • Date Published: June 2010
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521130424

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • Uses historical examples, such as nineteenth-century religious political movements in Europe, to consider religion's place in liberal democracies
    • Covers a broad range of questions concerning religion's political effects
    • Applies the moral and philosophical claims to political Islam and the American Christian Right, encouraging readers to rethink how we should view these challenging political movements
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '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

    ''Bryan McGraw's Faith in Politics and Anthony Gill's The Political Origins of Religious Liberty provide compelling and original insights on the interaction between religion and politics in modern society … these books provide an excellent introduction to the study of religion and politics. Both works depart from the usual abstract exercises in political theory and focus instead on historically oriented empirical research, to present political science as an empirical discipline. Both are intensely argued, theoretically sophisticated and empirically well supported. They are a delight to read and should be recommended to students of religious studies, political sociology and comparative politics.' Sarbeswar Sahoo, Political Studies Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521130424
    • length: 336 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 28 mm
    • weight: 0.73kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    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.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Introduction to American Government
    • Religion and Politics
    • Religion in American Politics
    • Religion in the Modern World
  • Author

    Bryan T. McGraw, Wheaton College, Illinois
    Bryan T. McGraw is Assistant Professor of Politics and International Relations in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Wheaton College.

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