Let God and Rawls Be friends: On the Cooperation between the Political Liberal Government and Religious Schools in Civic Education

Baldwin Bon-wah Wong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Political liberals are primarily concerned with the roles played by the government and public schools in civic education. In policies related to religious schools, political liberals often use a strategy of regulation that aims to restrict religious schools. I argue that, although this strategy is effective in eliminating bad religious schools, it alone is unable to ensure that all (or most) reasonable citizens achieve full justification, which is a necessary condition for the stability of a just society. I, therefore, suggest that this strategy should be supplemented with a strategy of promotion. This strategy implies that a government should use policies, such as tax exemption, subsidy, national prize, and advertisement, to encourage good religious schools that teach students to reconcile religious beliefs and political ideas. While the government remains neutral and offers a citizenship curriculum that teaches political ideas, religious schools teach theological beliefs that provide students comprehensive reasons to affirm political ideas. This division of labor facilitates students from different religious backgrounds to attain full justification. Religious schools have often been regarded as posing a threat to cultural balkanization. It is, however, an overlooked grain of truth that religious schools could be essential cornerstones of a stable liberal democracy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)774-789
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Applied Philosophy
Volume38
Issue number5
Early online date31 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

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