Skip to:Bottom
Cover image for The Religious Left and Church-State Relations
The Religious Left and Church-State Relations
Shiffrin, Steven H., 1941-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Princeton : Princeton University Press, c2009. (Baltimore, Md. : Project MUSE, 2015)
Physical Description:
1 online resource (xi, 241 p. )
Book collections on Project MUSE.
Part I : The Pluralistic Foundations Of The Religion Clauses. Overview of part I ; The free exercise clause ; Establishment clause values ; Applying the establishment clause -- Part II : The First Amendment And The Socialization Of Children: Compulsory Public Education And Vouchers. Compulsory public education ; Vouchers -- Part III. Religion And Progressive Politics. Religion and progressive politics ; The politics of liberalism.
Added Corporate Author:
Electronic Access:
Full text available:


Material Type
Item Barcode
Call Number
Shelf Location
Item Holds
eBook ER191231 KF4783 .S56 2009 Electronic Resources

On Order



In The Religious Left and Church-State Relations , noted constitutional law scholar Steven Shiffrin argues that the religious left, not the secular left, is best equipped to lead the battle against the religious right on questions of church and state in America today. Explaining that the chosen rhetoric of secular liberals is poorly equipped to argue against religious conservatives, Shiffrin shows that all progressives, religious and secular, must appeal to broader values promoting religious liberty. He demonstrates that the separation of church and state serves to protect religions from political manipulation while tight connections between church and state compromise the integrity of religious institutions.

Shiffrin discusses the pluralistic foundations of the religion clauses in the First Amendment and asserts that the clauses cannot be confined to the protection of liberty, equality, or equal liberty. He explores the constitutional framework of religious liberalism, applying it to controversial examples, including the Pledge of Allegiance, the government's use of religious symbols, the teaching of evolution in public schools, and school vouchers. Shiffrin examines how the approaches of secular liberalism toward church-state relations have been misguided philosophically and politically, and he illustrates why theological arguments hold an important democratic position--not in courtrooms or halls of government, but in the public dialogue. The book contends that the great issue of American religious politics is not whether religions should be supported at all, but how religions can best be strengthened and preserved.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. 1
Part I The Pluralistic Foundations of The Religion Clausesp. 9
Chapter 1 Overview of Part Ip. 11
Chapter 2 The Free Exercise Clausep. 16
The Court's Approachp. 16
Liberal Theoryp. 17
Communitarian Theoryp. 18
Free Exercise Valuesp. 20
Applying the Free Exercise Clausep. 23
Chapter 3 Establishment Clause Valuesp. 28
Liberty and Autonomyp. 29
Equalityp. 30
Stabilityp. 31
Promoting Political Communityp. 31
Protecting the Autonomy of Governmentp. 32
Protecting Churchesp. 32
Promoting Religionp. 34
Chapter 4 Applying the Establishment Clausep. 41
Acceptable Deviations from Equalityp. 42
Unacceptable Conformity with Equality:
Equality in the Public School Classroomp. 54
Concluding Observations about Part Ip. 58
Part II The First Amendment and The Socialization of Children: Compulsory Public Education and Vouchersp. 61
Chapter 5 Compulsory Public Educationp. 63
Pierce v. Society of Sisters: A Landmark Casep. 65
The Purposes of Public Educationp. 68
The Limits of Compulsory Public Educationp. 74
Constitutional? Sometimes. Good Public Policy? No.p. 80
Chapter 6 Vouchersp. 82
Are Vouchers Constitutionally Required?p. 82
Wise Policy for Preadolescents?p. 83
Should Vouchers Be Constitutionally Permitted for Religious Schools?p. 86
Concluding Observations about Part IIp. 93
Part III Religion and Progressive Politicsp. 95
Chapter 7 Religion and Progressive Politicsp. 97
Secular Liberalismp. 100
Religious Liberalismp. 106
Chapter 8 The Politics of Liberalismp. 110
The Relative Political Attractiveness of Secular and Religious Liberalismp. 110
Religion and American Party Politicsp. 125
Grassroots Democracy, Liberal Politics, and Excessive Religious Hostilityp. 127
Conclusionp. 134
Notesp. 137
Indexp. 237
Go to:Top of Page