Religious Liberty as a Democratic Institution

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In the early twenty-first century, the political role of religion is central in the United States and the world. This rise in the political role of religion is seen in the politically assertive Islam, the emergence of permissible limitations on religious liberty, and the significance of religion in political discourses such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and other issues. This article discusses the contributions of religious liberty to democracy. It discusses the role of religious liberty in facilitating the self-governance of citizens living in democratic systems, with particular emphasis on democracy as self-governance. The article does not intend to discuss theological claims; rather, it provides a direct discussion of constitutional interpretation. The intention is not to discuss constitutional or human rights in relation to the role of religious liberty in democracy, but to assess the consequences of religious liberty for the practice of democratic governance.


Abortion; Abortion--Religious aspects; Democracy; Governance; Liberty; Political role; Religion; Religion and politics; Religious liberty; Role of religion; Same-sex marriage; Same-sex marriage--Religious aspects; Self-governance


American Politics | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Political Science | Religion | Women's Studies


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