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Brad Pitt grew up in Missouri with two devout Baptist parents. But he's since said religion doesn't do it for him. One of the things Pitt would most like to see is the legalization of marijuana in the U. He’s said: Shouldn’t the argument be, what’s not good enough for us is not good enough for them? He's supported the last two Democratic presidential candidates, spoken out about U. wars, championed environmental, poverty, and legal marijuana causes. And then you’re told ‘Well, it’s God’s will.’ I got my issues. Politically, Pitt has spoken out about quite a few causes, almost all of them associated with the liberal left. He’d like to see the end of their exploitation and a more “one world, one standard” approach to politics.Moreover, there has been a growing interest in minority groups and the political rights and entitlements they are due.One result of this interest is substantial attention given to the particular concerns and needs of minority groups who are distinguished by their religion, as opposed to ethnicity, gender, or wealth.Of course, a different version of this argument could simply appeal to the truth of a particular religion and to the good of obtaining salvation, but given the persistent intractability of settling such questions, this would be a much more difficult argument to make.Against these positions, the liberal tradition has generally opposed establishment in all of the aforementioned forms.

A different approach for liberals is to appeal directly to the right to practice one’s religion, which is derivable from a more general right to freedom of conscience.A weaker form of an established church is what Robert Bellah (1967: 3-4) calls “civil religion,” in which a particular church or religion does not exactly have official status, and yet the state uses religious concepts in an explicitly public way.For an example of civil religion, he points to Abraham Lincoln’s use of Christian imagery of slavery and freedom in justifying the American Civil War. Trained as a philosopher (he completed, but did not defend, a dissertation at Harvard on the philosophy of F. Bradley) and deeply influenced by Aristotle, Eliot believed that democratic societies rejected the influence of an established church at their peril, for in doing so they cut themselves off from the kind of ethical wisdom that can come only from participation in a tradition.The relation between religion and politics continues to be an important theme in political philosophy, despite the emergent consensus (both among political theorists and in practical political contexts, such as the United Nations) on the right to freedom of conscience and on the need for some sort of separation between church and state.One reason for the importance of this topic is that religions often make strong claims on people’s allegiance, and universal religions make these claims on all people, rather than just a particular community.

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