Political philosophers have long disagreed on the issue of whether churches should exercise restraint in the appeal to religious reasons in public discussion and political mobilization. Exclusivists defend the restraint, whereas inclusivists reject it. Both sides, however, assume the existence of a democratic government. In this essay, I discuss whether churches should exercise restraint in a non-democratic, authoritarian society. I defend inclusivism and believe that churches should not restrain themselves, especially when doing so can promote democracy and prevent severe injustices. First, I argue that two exclusivist arguments which justify the restraint cannot be applied in an authoritarian society. Second, I defend inclusivism because religious reasons are effective in cultivating active citizens that strengthen the democratic movement. Finally, I use the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong as an example to show how inclusivism can enhance democratic movements under authoritarianism.
- democratic movement
- religious reason