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Faith in Democracy

Framing a Politics of Deep Diversity

Faith in Democracy

Framing a Politics of Deep Diversity

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Paperback / softback


Publisher: SCM Press
ISBN: 9780334060239
Number of Pages: 272
Published: 30/04/2021
Width: 13.5 cm
Height: 21.6 cm

What is the place of faith in public life in the UK? Beyond 'secularism' that seeks to relegate faith to the margins of public life, and a 'Christian nation' position that seeks to retain, or even regain, Christian public privilege, there is a third way.

Faith in Democracy: Framing a Politics of Deep Diversity calls for an approach that maximises public space for the expression of faith-based visions within democratic fora while repudiating all traces of religious privilege. It argues for a truly conversational space, reflecting theologically on the contested concepts at the heart of the current debate about the place of faith in British public life: democracy, secularism, pluralism and public faith.

Acknowledgements vii

Introduction: Faith and Democracy – Defining the Questions 

Before We Shout Out the Answers ix

Part 1 Democracy: As If Faith Mattered

1. Defining and Defending Democracy 3

2. Recasting Constitutional Democracy 31

Part 2 Secularism: Rights and Wrongs

3. Secularism or Pluralism? 55

4. Beyond Secular Esperanto 80

Part 3 Public Faith: Neither Privileged Nor Pliant

5. Faithful Speech 107

6. Faithful Conscience 127

7. Faithful Association 154

8. Faithful Power 190

Conclusion: Restoring Faith in Democracy 220

Index of Names and Subjects 227

Jonathan Chaplin

Jonathan Chaplin is an Associate Fellow at the think tank Theos and a member of the University of Cambridge Divinity Faculty. He is the author or editor of numerous publications on faith and politics in Britain and beyond, including ‘The Future of Brexit Britain: Anglican Reflections on National Identity and European Solidarity’ (2020) and ‘God and the EU: Faith in the European Project (2016).'

"Chaplin provides an accessible and engaging overview of the key institutional and political dynamics shaping church-state relations and the place of religion in public life in Britain today. At the same time, the book sets out constructive arguments for constitutional, liberal democracy and how it accords with his particular vision of "Christian democratic pluralism," a vision that draws on rich traditions of Christian reflection while also attending to contemporary political conditions. Underlying the book as a whole is the conviction that politics only serves its true end when it builds up the common good and enables the pursuit of "public justice."--Luke Bretherton, Robert E. Cushman Distinguished Professor of Moral & Political Theology, Duke University

"A fascinating and helpful work for Christians grappling with politics at any level. Engaging confidently with contemporary political theory, Chaplin argues robustly for “religiously integrated citizens” to engage faithfully in politics. He points out that Desmond Tutu’s case against apartheid was stronger, not weaker, for asserting that humans are “made in the image of God”. And he’s right that “faithful speech” can strengthen politics by opening up public discourse, which – unlike so much today – entails “the expression of citizens’ deepest motivations.” -- Rt Hon. Stephen Timms, MP

“For 15 years, Theos has been trying to bring a critically supportive voice to our vexed discussions on secularism, on liberalism, on democracy and, above all, on faith in public life - so I am delighted to recommend Jonathan Chaplin’s book on the topic. Intelligent, subtle, erudite, faithful, reasonable, Faith in Democracy is what Christian political theology at its best can be: an open, honest and generous contribution to our conversations on how we can live well together.” -- Elizabeth Oldfield, Director, Theos Think Tank

"Faith in Democracy is a triumph of explanation. Chaplin has distilled a lifetime of reflection on the Christian approach to democratic politics into a digestible handbook and a compelling manifesto for principled pluralism." -- David McIlroy, Kirby Laing Centre for Public Theology, The Big Picture (January 2021), 

"Jonathan Chaplin shows himself a widely read and deeply reflective guide for those seeking guidance on how to be faithful democrats — and democrats who are people of faith....[Chaplin proposes] a democracy in which the public ex pressions of faiths of many sorts can play their part without being either privileged over against secular philosophies and each other or “pliant”: too conformed to a prevailing secularism....[He invites] readers to accept the discomfort and the creativity of the society that his subtitle commends: a “politics of deep diversity”, one in which faith plays a powerful, vibrant, and, at the same time, non-dominating part....Wide-ranging, radical, topical, and accessible, this is a book to make you clearer in your thinking, and more likely to revise it." -- Peter Selby, Church Times (17/09/2021) 

"[The book] presents the fruits of extensive reading in the field, and crystallizes a programme that can empower citizens of faith and faith-based organizations to engage confidently in public life without having to hide their fundamental convictions or leave them at home...I recommend it highly." -- Patrick Riordan, Studies in Christian Ethics 35.1 (2022)

"Chaplin brings together the considerable fruits of his research in several disciplines — political philosophy, political theology and public theology — distilling then into a comprehensive and comprehensible whole, and thereby providing an accessible handbook for those whose work necessitates an understanding of all these modalities...." -- Anne Tomlinson, LSE Religion and Global Society blog (13/01/2022)

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