Society & Politics

Private Faith and Public Life


Ryan Messmore

The role of religion in the public sphere is the focus of this interview with Ryan Messmore by the Centre for Public Christianity (based in Australia). Starting with the threat posed to religious liberty by the privatisation of religion, Messmore explores the improper divide that has been created between a public realm of facts and a private realm of values into which religion has been shoehorned. This is a divide which has been created through the assumption of a value-neutral territory.

When asked how this situation has come about, Messmore points to the cultural influence from both government decisions and from theology void of a robust understanding of the role of religion.

Religion, however, has a lot to offer society, as Messmore shows by pointing to the many important movements for the common good spearheaded by religious groups in the US. There is a need, then, for society to safeguard religion, and to allow religious institutions to remain distinctively faithful.

How might freedom of religion best be expressed as an apparent contributor to the common good?

How can we create more space for religious thought in the public realm?

Source: Centre for Public Christianity

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