On Unity, Liberty and Charity

For Stout, secularization must be understood as a practical response to plurality, not an institutionalized ideology. Secularization thus creates space for deliberative religious discourse to flourish. The general categories of religious affiliation are not sufficient to determine democratic participation. However, Stout singles out for rigorous critique, support for theocracy and plutocracy, no less cruel and domineering forms of governance. Political theology returns at this point as a means of pursuing the pragmatist’s interest in building coalitions of the right sort.

“On Unity, Liberty and Charity,” - politicaltheology.com/on-unity-liberty-and-charity/. This is part of my brief introduction to a special issue on Pragmatism and Political Theology for the second issue of volume twenty of the journal Political Theology. The collection draws together a series of essays on the theme such as: Molly Farneth’s “When God and State Don’t Dominate: Pragmatism: Political Theology, and Democratic Authority;” Jonathon Kahn’s “Pragmatism, Messianism, and Political Theology after Ted Smith’s Weird John Brown;” Sami Pihlstrom’s “A Pragmatist Approach to the Mutual Recognition between Ethico-Political and Theological Discourses on Evil and Suffering;” and, my essay, “The Pragmatist Question of Sovereignty.” My aim was to explore pragmatist calls to reinvigorate democratic practices. In particular I wished to go further with some of Jeffrey Stout’s claims in Democracy and Tradition.