"In this fresh critique of Rawls’s political liberalism, Dostert offers a bold and stimulating account of the political potential of religion that actually enhances the prospects of a genuinely democratic public discourse. Drawing lessons from the civil rights movement to the Jubilee 2000 effort, Beyond Political Liberalism presents a profoundly hopeful challenge to the ways of thinking about liberalism and religion that dominate both political science and religious studies today. Setting aside worn diatribes and tattered dichotomies, Beyond Political Liberalism constructs a promising vision of religion's role in liberal society that will be of interest to anyone concerned about the future of contemporary western culture." —Daniel M. Bell, Jr., Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary
"This is a fine book. It is clearly written, accessible to a broad audience, and of special relevance now, both in academia and in the larger political and intellectual culture." —Eldon Eisenach, University of Tulsa
In Beyond Political Liberalism, Troy Dostert offers a critical examination of political liberalism, the approach to liberal political theory advanced most forcefully in the later work of John Rawls. Political liberalism's defenders claim that an “overlapping consensus” of shared values holds out the strongest prospects for regulating democratic politics in light of our moral diversity. Dostert contends, however, that the attempt to establish such a consensus in fact works to restrict and control the presence of religious and other moral perspectives that can ennoble and invigorate public life.
Dostert argues that there is a steep price to be paid for this conception of politics, for what results is a political vision characterized by a profound distrust and fear of citizens' comprehensive convictions—the animating source of many citizens' political activity. He suggests that a “post-secular” ethics is a more appropriate response to moral diversity than restricting and managing the presence of religion and other moral perspectives in public life. By drawing on the religious witness of the civil rights movement and the work of theologian John Howard Yoder, Dostert elucidates several core dialogic practices and illustrates their value through a consideration of the contemporary debates surrounding international debt relief and abortion.