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This essay is divided into three categories: some brief remarks about forms of secularism, an outline of American constitutional law as it relates to religion, and a discussion from the standpoint of political philosophy of the proper place of religion (and other similar perspectives) in making political decisions within liberal democracies. Because the audience for whom the oral comments from which the essay is derived was mainly non-American, the middle part of the essay sets out many propositions familiar to anyone acquainted with this branch of constitutional law. And because of the informal nature of the original presentation, I offer my own views without extensive citation or detailed analysis. Except for the first part on secularism, everything in the essay is defended in two volumes I have written on the religion clauses, and the third part adopts much of the actual language of one chapter. With some frequency, I footnote to chapters in the books to provide the reader an easy way to assess what I have said. In these chapters, one can find references to relevant cases and significant scholarly work.


Ethics and Political Philosophy | Law | Religion Law