Religious Convictions and Political Choice

Religious Convictions and Political Choice


Publication Date



How far may Americans properly rely on their religious beliefs when they make and defend political decisions? For example, are ordinary citizens or legislators doing something wrong when they consciously allow their decisions respecting abortion laws to be determined by their religious views? Despite its intense contemporary relevance, the full dimensions of this issue have until now not been thoroughly examined. Religious Convictions and Political Choice represents the first attempt to fill this gap. Beginning with an account of the basic premises of our liberal democracy, Greenawalt moves to a comparison between rational secular grounds of decision and grounds based on religious convictions. He discusses particular issues such as animal rights and abortion, showing how religious convictions can bear on an individual's decisions about them, and inquires whether reliance on such convictions is compatible with liberal democratic premises. In conclusion, he argues that citizens cannot be expected to rely exclusively on rational, secular grounds.


American Politics | Arts and Humanities | History of Philosophy | Political Science | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion | Social and Behavioral Sciences




Oxford University Press


New York, NY


"A searching, well argued, and richly suggestive treatment of the ethics of citizenship in a liberal democracy.... The book contains much that is of value in basic social-political philosophy. It is also lucid, forthright, and concretely written. Given the quality of its argumentation and the importance of the issue, it is essential reading for anyone seriously interested in the appropriate relation between religion and politics."

"Lucid and important ... Greenawalt has a fine way of clarifying issues and staying strictly within the limits he has set himself.... The argument of the book is impressive and important for theologians and others concerned for an effective theological contribution to public debate."
Journal of Theological Studies

"Deserves its rightful place alongside the works of Rawls and Dworkin."
Northern Illinois University Law Review

"A sane book for an election year, and for decades to come."
The Christian Century


Also available as an eBook through the Columbia University Libraries.

Religious Convictions and Political Choice

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