Public Justice Review (PJR) explores in depth specific questions of public justice, equipping citizens to pursue God's good purpose for our political community. 

Vol. 8, Issue 5: Public Justice in Review 2018

Byron Borger (Contributing Editor)

6. 2018: Political Discipleship in Review

Vince Bacote

CPJ Fellow Vince Bacote reviews the year in political discipleship: what does it mean to follow Jesus in the politics of 2018? Reviewing books from Amy Black, Patrick Deneen, John Fee and Fred Van Geest, Bacote finds a diverse set that reaches within and beyond the Christian tradition. It equips us to be disciples whose proclamation and practice reflects an appreciation of the opportunities of political engagement, while maintaining an ultimate hope in God rather than politics itself. Argues Bacote: worshipping God above all, with politics as one dimension of our faithful practice, remains an opportunity and aspiration for us in 2018.  READ >>

5. 2018: "The Problem of Poverty" in Review

Katie Thompson

What did Jesus really mean when he said, "The poor you will always have with you"? This question should drive Christians toward, not away, from social, civil and political solutions for the economically marginal among us. Today Katie Thompson tackles this perennial topic, close to the heart of Christian social tradition of CPJ: what to do with “the problem of poverty.” Reviewing two recent books, Thompson argues poverty requires a civil, social, religious and political solution; a simultaneous realization of norms, for which Christians, and those within CPJ’s tradition in particular, have rich resources.  READ >>

4. 2018: Families Valued in Review

Rachel Anderson

At least since Abraham Kuyper wrote on “the social question” and Pope Leo XIII on Rerum Novarum (“of the new things”), the transformation and challenge of work has been a central question in the Christian social tradition. Fast forwarding to 2018 we find no exceptions: the rise of the “gig” economy provides new, unique challenges that require as robust Christian theologies and practices now as they did then. Today, Rachel Anderson, Resident Fellow at CPJ leading our Families Valued project, surveys the past year to bridge these emerging changes in work, life, and society and see how Christians, in particular, might respond.  READ >>

3. 2018: Sacred Sector in Review

Chelsea Langston Bombino

2018 has been a busy year for non-profits and activist groups, none more so than in the faith-based sector. As religious communities grow more politically active, the question of not only collaboration and impact, but also of how to “keep the faith” almost always arises. This week, the Center for Public Justice’s Director of its Sacred Sector initiative, Chelsea Langston Bombino, surveys the landscape from 2018 on books and arguments that help Christians, in particular, navigate these key issues READ >>

2. 2018: Institutional Religious Freedom in Review

Stanley Carlson-Thies

The past year has been a busy one for discussing and adjudicating deep and abiding differences among citizens, no less so than in the hot button sphere of freedom of religion or belief, and its often-essential institutions. Today, Stanley Carlson-Thies draws a map for us of the most hopeful books of the last year (and a bit) on institutional religious freedom, the pitfalls they signal and the potential for public justice as a way forward READ >>

1. 2018: The Year in Published Public Justice

Byron Borger

In the upcoming weeks, CPJ will offer a handful of essays reviewing some significant books that speak to areas of our research and advocacy. We will strive to offer a “lay of the land,” naming books that capture something of the spirit of the age, discerning the perspectives in play within these arenas. Today, our Contributing Editor Byron Borger lays out, with broad brush strokes, the year past from the perspective of major publications on public justice. While an outstanding year for issue advocacy, Bryon argues there is a notable absence of more cohesive, public arguments about how our political discipleship hangs together. READ >>

Vol. 8, Issue 4: Making Peace with Proximate Pluralism

Stanley Carlson-Thies (Contributing Editor)

6. Augustine's Aspirational Imperfectionism: What Should We Hope for From Politics?

Jesse Covington

In today’s series finale, Jesse Covington argues that Augustine points us to political faithfulness in light of the full scope of redemptive history. Our hopes for politics include pursuing real goods (could love of neighbor counsel anything less?), but with the recognition that these goods remain tempered, limited, and proximate inside of time. For Augustine, this posture is captured by the image of the pilgrim or sojourner who invests deeply in his current context, but without mistaking it for home.


5. Religious Liberty and LGBTQ Equality: Civic Pluralism Points to a Path Through the Ongoing Conflict

Nathan Berkeley

Disagreements about human sexuality are as pronounced as ever in American society. In the political domain, issues related to whether and how to protect LGBTQ identities in law are a common focal point for these disagreements, and they can become even more charged when religious freedom concerns are involved. This article points to three considerations for addressing these controversial and difficult issues: (1) that the existence of diverse institutions in American society benefits a diverse population that desires to be served in distinctive ways; (2) that religious liberty claims and LGBTQ equality claims place very different demands on society; and (3) that the multi-dimensional nature of sexual orientation and gender identity complicates their protection in law.

Civic pluralism is a public-legal framework for ordering and applying these considerations in a way that respects, without celebrating, the deep religious and moral divisions in American society. It is a structure for broadly securing the freedom of everyone to establish, and engage with, institutions that align with their core convictions.



4. Christian Responsibility in Governing: What to Do When Democracy Gets Complicated

Jennifer Walsh


Many Christians – particularly conservative ones – fear that a pluralistic society will result in laws that are more tyrannical than democratic. Today, argues Jennifer Walsh, Christians must find a way to successfully govern in an increasingly diverse and pluralistic society and actively love neighbors who view the world quite differently. They must learn to live and work within the constraints of our system—not rebel whenever they do not get their way. And they must learn to accept some justice and some pluralism that will be different and wider than they might wish.



3. Civic Pluralism and Minority Solidarity (Part 2 of 2)

Jonathan Chaplin

Civic pluralism is a central implication of the vision of public justice that has guided CPJ since its inception. But while a noble and necessary aspiration, it is often creates the very imperfect realities we lament. Today, Jonathan Chaplin concludes a two-part series exploring a different sense of solidarity: what it means to find ourselves alongside other minority communities of conviction in a single political community which must uphold the public manifestation of such deep differences, even while it also protects fundamental human interests.


2. Civic Pluralism and Human Solidarity (Part 1 of 2)

Jonathan Chaplin

Civic pluralism is a central implication of the vision of public justice that has guided CPJ since its inception. But while a noble and necessary aspiration, it is often creates the very imperfect realities we lament. Join seasoned scholar Jonathan Chaplin in a two-part series, on what we have “in common” with our fellow citizens, the limits of that commonness, and what to do when our core convictions no longer count as common, and we must learn to stand in solidarity with other minority communities as we uphold public space for difference.   


1. The Dissatisfactions - and Blessings! - of Civic Pluralsim

Stanley Carlson-Thies

In our opening editorial, founder and Senior Director of the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance, Stanley Carlson-Thies asks what is so good about pluralism as a structuring principle for a political community? Should we always qualify civic pluralism as “proximate” to remind ourselves that, even if it is a blessing during our in-between time, when we need to live together with others with whom we have deep disagreements, it is an arrangement for political community that must inevitably disappoint us? These are the questions that lay out the work of this series of the Public Justice Review. While acknowledging the good that is principled or civic pluralism, we will explore the limitations inherent to it that must evoke disappointment in all who long for the fullness of the Kingdom of God.   


Vol. 8, Issue 3: A Way Forward: Christian Principles for Health Care Policy

Stephanie Summers (Contributing Editor)

2. Christians, Health Care Policies, and the Dangers of False Equivalencies

Dr. Ruth Groenhout

Health care policy is one of the central moral issues of our day and a topic on which a clear Christian voice is needed. From a Reformed perspective, the focus of our debates needs to be justice, not charity. Christians should support policies that provide health care as a right. Unfortunately, the Christian church has often supported policies that deny people access to health care, and this denial threatens to undercut their ability to speak with a moral voice on important issues of our time. 


1. Biblical Shalom and the Health Care Debate

Michelle Kirtley

With human flourishing as the goal of health care reform, the debate becomes about more than the provision of health insurance. Looking closely at God’s created order for the structure that supports flourishing–structural pluralism and sphere sovereignty–helps us to chart a path out of the tired, worn debate between privatization and single payer health care towards a tapestry of policies that encourage us all to contribute to the health of our neighbors and communities.