The American justice system was founded on the idea of “majority-rule,” but in a democracy this is achievable only if the majority has the interests of the whole at heart. Since the days of America’s founding, white, Christian males created laws from their standpoint as the majority, leading them to exercise power in a largely “majoritarian” way rather than upholding the interests of all citizens. The nation has not realized its stated ideals of equality of liberty, opportunity and justice for all. As a solution, W. Royce Clark formulates a non-majoritarian ethic based not on any majority but on a universal instinct, the combination of Albert Schweitzer’s “will-to-live” and Friedrich Nietzsche’s “will-to-power,” along with democratic principles articulated by John Rawls and James Madison, which would represent all citizens.
W. Royce Clark is professor emeritus of Pepperdine University.
1.Definitions, Scope, and Tools for the Project
2.Diverse Freedoms Within Unity: Basic Real Problems
3.The History of Christianity in the U.S.: Aspiration and Mythologization, or Desacralization and Freedom of Conscience
4.The History of Religion, Ethics, and Law in the U.S.: From Theocracy to a Constitution
5.The “Free Exercise” Clause: Worship as Beyond Government’s Jurisdiction
6.Religious “Free Exercise” to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993
7.The First Amendment: Who Guarantees “Free Exercise”?
8.Unlimited “Free Exercise”: “Any Law is Subject to Challenge”?
9.“No Law Respecting the Establishment of Religion”
10.The First Amendment: A Very Selective Reading of History
11.“No Law?” The “Evenhandedness” and “Private Choice” Cure-all?
12.Conclusion: The Inclusive Will-to-Live in a Democratic Republic
Cited Select Supreme Court Cases
This important volume disentangles humanity's longstanding problem, which is to understand better the interrelatedness and disengagement between religion and social structures. Professor Clark challenges one to ponder: Does religion produce social beings; or, do social beings erect frameworks of human interaction and engagement undergirded by biased ethical principles? This book helps one flesh out such concerns.
In a diverse and religiously pluralistic society, where do people find the ethical principles that provide the foundation for a truly democratic republic? Theologian, ethicist, and legal scholar W. Royce Clark contends that the Framers of America's founding documents and recent decisions of the Supreme Court reveal the need for a more inclusive ethic based upon secular principles that elicit broad and voluntary support. This thought-provoking volume also raises important philosophical and theological questions for those seeking to gain political power and privilege in order to legislate morality based upon a religious ethic.