Document Type

Faculty Essay


In lieu of an abstract, below is the essay's first paragraph.

"Religion and politics are intertwined historically, sociologically, maybe even genetically. They are practically inseparable. Yet many people seem to find this relationship appalling, unintelligible, or illegitimate. The topic of the connections between religion and politics excites tremendous passion, pro and con, in many. Some see the connections as appropriate, laudable, even necessary for the survival of civilized life and democracy. Others, looking at different dimensions, regard any influence on political life from religious quarters as fundamentally immoral, irrational, unconstitutional and hostile to democracy. There is truth in both views. My aim here is to discuss briefly the rationale(s) behind such contradictory views with an eye to encouraging a bit more detachment and tolerance, less rancor, and perhaps even dialogue across the gulf that divides these wildly differing perspectives. Even such a brief review of these dimensions should convince skeptics that the connections between religion and political life are profound, significant and worthy of serious examination."

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