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Full Access The Church, Democracy and Responsible Citizenship

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The Church, Democracy and Responsible Citizenship

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AbstractThe quality of our democratic life is intimately bound up with the quality of our church-state relations. The aim of this article is to direct attention to the contribution that churches and other faith communities can possibly offer towards the nurturing of a responsible citizenship in political life together. It recognizes and applauds the role of the state itself in advancing the common good, but resists the tendency among many who confine this role to the state alone. Church-state relations are typically discussed simply with reference to church and state, with a blind spot for the people comprising our political community. Responsible citizenship affirms the meaningful and constructive role which ordinary people in their personal and professional capacities can fulfill towards the common good. It consequently discusses the notions of hope, power and grace as some of the concrete ways through which a more participatory democracy or active citizenship might be envisaged, embodied and practiced by the people as part and parcel of their political responsibility together. Each of these aspects bear implications for the contribution churches can provide in public life as they nurture as well as exercise this sense of responsible citizenship.

Affiliations: 1: School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, University of KwaZulu-Natal Private Bag X01, Scottsville 3209, Republic of South Africa, Email:, URL:


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