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After Civil Religion



The thrust of Avery Dulles’s paper is clear. As civil religion is eroding, pluralism goes unchecked. This, in turn, is causing a movement downward: Government, not being able to appeal to shared convictions, practices a method of avoiding divisive issues. I agree with both the premises and the conclusion of this argument. In fact, in the final part of my comments I shall add another illustration of this methodical avoidance, that is, the substitution of culture for religion in matters of so-called multiculturalism. Where I disagree is with respect to the conclusion that Dulles then draws, namely, that we should try to strengthen civil religion. I am less positive about civil religion. In this respect I allow for more pluralism.

Sander Griffioen, "After Civil Religion," Journal of Markets & Morality 5, no. 1 (Spring 2002): 193-198

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