In the eyes of many, liberalism requires the aggressive secularization of social institutions, especially public media and public schools. The unfortunate result is that many Americans have become alienated from the liberal tradition because they believe it threatens their most sacred forms of life. This was not always the case: in American history, the relation between liberalism and religion has often been one of mutual respect and support. In Liberal Politics and Public Faith: Beyond Separation, Kevin Vallier attempts to reestablish mutual respect by developing a liberal political theory that avoids the standard liberal hostility to religious voices in public life. He claims that the dominant form of academic liberalism, public reason liberalism, is far friendlier to religious influences in public life than either its proponents or detractors suppose. The best interpretation of public reason, convergence liberalism, rejects the much-derided "privatization" of religious belief, instead viewing religious contributions to politics as a resource for liberal political institutions. Many books reject privatization, Liberal Politics and Public Faith: Beyond Separation is unique in doing so on liberal grounds.
"This is a worthwhile addition to recent scholarship. The author has brought together an impressive array of resources and voices on this topic, raising basic questions that haven’t been addressed directly in recent years concerning the connection to deliberation, the defense of integrity as a core liberal value, and the role of restraint."
Melissa Yates, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University
"Theoretically sophisticated but also engaged with practical political issues…clearly and engagingly written."
Andrew Lister, Associate Professor, Queen’s University
"Vallier is one of the leading philosophers currently working on public reason, and it’s a great pleasure to engage with his work, from which I’ve learned a lot. Kevin has written a terrific book: it’s an ambitious, original, and very thoughtful effort to reconcile the demands of public reason or public justification with the aspiration of many religious citizens to rely on their religious views in the political domain."
Professor Jonathan Quong, University of Southern California
"Vallier’s Liberal Politics and Public Faith: Beyond Separation stakes out a distinctive and significant version of political liberalism and offers important proposals for structuring democratic societies. The book is wide-ranging and scholarly, engagingly written, and a valuable source for understanding much of the major literature on the topic."
Professor Robert Audi, University of Notre Dame
"Kevin Vallier has written a fantastic book. It makes a significant and original contribution to the literature on public reason liberalism, and anyone interested in liberalism should add it to the top of her reading list."
Lori Watson, University of San Diego