ON-Lion Letter
Faith-based organizations play a major role in providing a host of health, educational, and social services to the public.  Nearly all these efforts, however, have been accompanied by intense debate and numerous legal challenges.  The right of faith-based groups to hire based on religion, the presence of religious symbols and icons in places where government-subsidized services are provided, and the granting of gay rights to which some religious groups object all continue to be subjects of intense debate and numerous court cases.

In his book Pluralism and Freedom:  Faith-Based Organizations in a Democratic Society, new from Rowman & Littlefield PublishersStephen V. Monsma explores the question of how much autonomy faith-based organizations should retain when they enter the public realm.  Monsma contends that pluralism and freedom demand that religious freedom be respected, but that the freedom of all religious traditions and of the general public and secular groups should be equally respected. 

He argues that democratic pluralism requires a genuine, authentic -- but also a limited -- autonomy for faith-based organizations providing public services, and offers practical, concrete public-policy applications of this framework in practice.

Monsma is a senior research fellow at The Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., and a professor emeritus of political science at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif.  He is the author of numerous books and scholarly articles about faith-based organizations and church and state relations.

Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation has supported Monsma's work at The Henry Institute.
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