Volume 2, Issue 1, Spring-Summer 1999
E. M. Fales
Are the Gods Apolitical?
The increasingly strident debate in the United States over the role of religion in public policy raises the general questions whether the United States is a liberal democracy and whether it should be; but also the theoretical question---addressed here---whether it is legitimate for citizens in a liberal democracy to offer religious convictions as grounds for policy. The historically most prominent reason given for the exclusion of religious grounds is that the injection of religion into policy is divisive and potentially destructive of certain rights. I argue another reason, which has been overlooked, is that religious traditions and movements are fundamentally political enterprises that, in effect, introduce foreign agents when permitted institutional participation in domestic politics.