Abstract for 2008 Honors Colloquium

Joshua Turner

Government

"Religion and the Political Sphere: The Limitations of Public Reason"

My thesis seeks to examine John Rawls' concept of public reason as it applies to religion. Whereas Rawls feared that the inclusion of religious premises into public debate would generate polarization and a failure to generate compromise, I argue that the participation of faith traditions (such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or the Methodist Church) in political discourse can be beneficial to a liberal democracy rather than destructive to it.