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Some time ago, President Clinton talked to a gathering of religious journalists about abortion. He said that he did not believe that the biblical passages often cited by those who are "pro-life" indicate· clearly that abortion is wrong and should be prohibited. The reasons many people have for wanting abortion to be prohibited, or for allowing abortion, relate to their religious convictions. These people, for the most part, regard it as perfectly appropriate that religious perspectives help determine public policy on abortion in the United States. Others object. They say that the religious views of some people should not be imposed on others. Who is right? Is this a question of simple right or wrong, or are matters much more complex?

My main subject is the use of religious convictions in the making of public political decisions. Abortion is the most controversial illustration, but it by no means stands alone. Welfare provisions, capital punishment, treatment of animals, environmental protection, military policy, and a host of other political issues may be tied to religious understandings. Should these understandings influence public policy?


Law | Law and Politics | Political Science | Religion Law