Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Obama a Habermasian or a Rawlsian?

Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God’s will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all . . . Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. It involves the compromise, the art of what’s possible. At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It’s the art of the impossible. If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God’s edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one’s life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime, but to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing.

from here

1 comment:

Murfmensch said...

I think most of Obama and Clinton's religious rhetoric can be considered testimony as the term is used by Rawls.

I lived in Arkansas while Bill Clinton was governor and both Clinton spoke very often of their church memberships. (It was a minor scandal that they went to different churches.)

We are mistaken if we are to consider Obama the religious rhetorical candidate.

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