Analysis Of Political Liberalism By John Rawls

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John Rawls’s political ideology further illuminates the significance of interpreting the First Amendment’s relationship with tolerance. In his book, Political Liberalism, he offers commentary on modern religious quarrels. Rawls suggests followers of many Christian based faiths in the U.S today insist their Christian ideals must be used to establish laws. Nonetheless, Rawls reminds his readers no all-inclusive doctrine compels the loyalty of all people and pluralism is an enduring feature in life. Rather, he encourages an intersecting consensus must occur so citizens can agree on constitutional and political issues in society. For instance, a citizen may understand why a Catholic believer would make the Pope 's teachings binding law, but,…show more content…
Just as a Muslim or Christian should not ask fellow citizens to be governed by the Quran or the Bible. Thus, the obvious question “is how can all these different kinds of people (people with different preferences, different moral beliefs, and different religious beliefs) live together in conditions of peace and stability”. In addition, and importantly to Rawls, “the fact of pluralism is permanent. It will not disappear, indeed it is increasing because this plurality is the natural outcome of the operation of reason under conditions of freedom”. Religion and morality are places people must expect divergence. People that allow convergence and unanimity to govern their life also subject themselves to an overbearing and compulsory canon. Rawls thoughts show the tenuous relationship between religion and democracy and the need for toleration in a thriving democracy. Religious believers impulsively desire to have their own perspective govern all aspects of life, including such topics as, marriage, same-sex bathrooms, and what language can used in the press. Yet, pluralism reduces this desire to negligent numbers unless some type of injustice is used to impose one 's views upon…show more content…
John Stuart Mill’s comments on liberty help to shed light on a potential answer. Mill has suggested, “the purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over a member of a community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others”. An interpretation of the First Amendment from Mill’s perspective recommends autonomy and finds the appropriate limit of tolerance lies in the no-harm principle. Many intellectuals have suggested the First Amendment should be interpreted from Mill’s point of view because it provides a theory that protects religious liberty. Christopher Clausen for example, a devout researcher and writer on Mill’s ideals believes Locke’s version of toleration was consistent with the Smith ruling, “it did not protect religious acts, only beliefs”. Clausen favors Mill’s theories centered on protecting both an individual’s belief and their acts unless they harmed others. This reasoning is aligned with how the Court ruled cases before Smith. The Court often relied upon the ruling in Sherbert v. Verner and held any laws substantially burdening free exercise were subject to strict scrutiny. The court rejected Mill’s theories in Smith because they detract from providing a realistic tolerant view of the First Amendment. The most appropriate way to avoid privileging a religious or philosophical reading of the Constitution is to ensure all citizens are held to the same
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