Reexamining the Issue of Religion in the Public Square

By Daniel J. Elazar

Spring 1999

The modern synthesis separating church and state and thereby excluding the institutions of religion from the public square, even while allowing the spirit of religion to help shape the public life of various countries, has come unraveled in the face of postmodern changes. These changes include the rise of neopaganism, which has meant that the principles of separation are applied exclusively to the monotheistic religions while pagan religions can penetrate the public square in the guise of folklore and multiculturalism, coupled with a growing felt need to feel that religion, particularly the monotheistic religions, have something important to contribute to resolving the issues of the day and cannot fairly be excluded. We find ourselves confronted with the issue whether we like it or not, as fundamentalist religions have moved to assert themselves in the public square. It behooves us to find new ways and means for religion to play its role in public life without sacrificing the democratic benefits of church-state separation. One of the ways to do so in a manner compatible with democracy is by emphasizing the covenantal basis of both religion and democratic republicanism. It would be equally useful to distinguish between federal liberty established by covenant and natural liberty and to pursue the former.

Topic: Political Behavior, Religion and State, Politics

Name of Publication: Jewish Political Studies Review

Volume/Issue: Vol.11/No.1-2

Page Number(s): 1-21

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Genre: Article

Identifier: 0792-335X

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Elazar, Daniel J. Reexamining the Issue of Religion in the Public Square. Jewish Political Studies Review. Spring 1999: 1-21.


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