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Kent Greenawalt

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199756162

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756162.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 December 2021

Religion and Public Reasons

Religion and Public Reasons

Making Laws and Evaluating Candidates*

(p.43) Chapter 3 Religion and Public Reasons
From the Bottom Up

Kent Greenawalt

Oxford University Press

“Religion and Public Reasons: Making Laws and Evaluating Candidates,” shows that what actually count as public reasons can differ for legislators and judges, that even among public reasons there can obviously be conflicts, and that public reason itself cannot always settle the assignment of weight. Citizens and legislators cannot completely put aside their comprehensive views, since public reason is often radically incomplete. The religious affiliations and convictions of candidates for important public offices could make a difference for a rational voter; but by fully explaining their exact religious convictions, candidates could easily cause harms of unfair prejudice. Thus, in the United States, it was best for candidates, such as John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney, to sketch how they saw their religion relating to their political convictions, but not to provide a detailed account or claim that their religion itself is a basic reason to vote for them.

Keywords:   Legislators Compared with Judges, Conflicts of Reasons, Comprehensive Views, Religious Convictions, Candidates for Office, Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill, Barack Obama, John F. Kennedy, Mitt Romney

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