In April, Cambridge University Press will publish Beyond Church and State: Democracy, Secularism, and Conversion by Matthew Scherer (Union College). The publisher’s description follows.
Secularism is often imagined in Thomas Jefferson’s words as ‘a wall of separation between Church and State’. This book moves past that standard picture to argue that secularism is a process that reshapes both religion and politics. Borrowing a term from religious traditions, the book goes further to argue that this process should be understood as a process of conversion. Matthew Scherer studies Saint Augustine, John Locke, John Rawls, Henri Bergson and Stanley Cavell to present a more accurate picture of what secularism is, what it does, and how it can be reimagined to be more conducive to genuine democracy.