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A Short Letter on Religious Toleration

Burleigh Wilkins
The Journal of Ethics
Vol. 7, No. 3 (2003), pp. 239-252
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25115763
Page Count: 14
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A Short Letter on Religious Toleration
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Abstract

This paper takes the form of a letter to fledgling democracies such as Algeria, Turkey, and Iran. It explores the nature of democracy and argues that the equality of citizens requires that different religions be treated equally. It presents some "lessons" from United States constitutional history which might be useful to fledgling democracies as they seek to achieve a separation of church and state. Developing a theme first presented in "A Third Principle of Justice," The Journal of Ethics 1 (1997), pp. 355-374, it argues that religious toleration sometimes may require a heightened sensitivity to the needs of some religious associations. It concludes, however, that religious toleration does not require a toleration of intolerant religious extremists who pose a threat to democracy.

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