Georgetown Law Journal Association
For at least the past decade or so, law-and-religion scholars have vigorously debated the issue of whether it is proper for American citizens to rely on religious reasons when talking about and reaching decisions on issues of public concern, including law. Those who argue that religion should be kept out of such decisionmaking and discourse contend that reliance on religious reasons: (1) violates principles of separation of church and state, (2) unfairly excludes nonbelievers from meaningful participation in public discourse, (3) creates unacceptable divisiveness, and (4) risks the domination of Christian beliefs in public discourse to the detriment of religious minorities. Those who disagree say reliance is proper for several reasons; they argue that excluding religion from such activity is impossible and unfair, that religious beliefs exist on the same epistemological level as other types of political and moral beliefs, and that allowing religion into the public square would in fact improve public discourse because religious discourse can be as open-minded and deliberative as so-called secular discourse,' can provide novel perspectives that otherwise would not make their way into public discourse," and can generally enrich and deepen the overall quality of public debate.
Framing the Public Square
Georgetown Law Journal
Available at: https://scholarship.law.bu.edu/faculty_scholarship/1956