Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Friday, September 18, 2009

GOD'S ECONOMY: Faith-Based Iniatives and the Caring State, by Lew Daly

Here is the University of Chicago Press pre-publication blurb about a book that readers of MOJ should rush to pre-order:


Faith-Based Initiatives and the Caring State


Lew Daly


With a foreword by E. J. Dionne Jr.






(published in December 2009)


Though President Obama has signaled a sharp break from many Bush administration policies, he remains committed to federal support for religious social service providers. Like George W. Bush’s faith-based initiative, though, Obama’s version of the policy has generated loud criticism—from both sides of the aisle—even as the communities that stand to benefit continue to struggle with economic hardship. God’s Economy reveals that virtually all of the critics, as well as many supporters, have long misunderstood both the true implications of faith-based partnerships and their unique potential for advancing social justice.


Unearthing the intellectual history of the faith-based initiative, Lew Daly locates its roots in the pluralist tradition of


’s Christian democracies, in which the state shares sovereignty with social institutions. He argues that Catholic and Dutch Calvinist ideas played a crucial role in the evolution of this tradition as churches across nineteenth-century


developed philosophical and legal defenses to protect their education and social programs against ascendant governments. Tracing the influence of this heritage on the past three decades of American social policy and church-state law, Daly finally untangles the radical beginnings of the faith-based initiative. In the process, he frees it from the narrow culture-war framework that has limited debate on the subject since Bush opened the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in 2001.            


A major contribution from an important new voice at the intersection of religion and politics, God’s Economy points the way to a new kind policymaking shaped by public faith, an approach combining strong social assistance from the state with a sharp moral focus on protecting families and communities in the liberal market order.     


Lew Daly is a senior fellow and director of the fellows program at Dēmos, a nonpartisan public policy center in

New York City

. He is the coauthor, with Gar Alperovitz, of Unjust Deserts.


Advance Praise for God’s Economy

Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama have all supported expanding poverty-fighting partnerships between religious nonprofit organizations and government agencies. Lew Daly has taken the complicated history and often divisive discourse concerning such faith-based initiatives to a better intellectual and civic place. With wide-ranging sophistication and candor, God’s Economy sheds new light on Catholic and Calvinist ideas about church-state relations, referees ongoing debates about religion in the public square, and weighs in on policy controversies like those surrounding religious hiring rights. Agree or not with all of Daly’s conclusions, this is an engaging, balanced, and timely book. President Obama’s faith-based policy advisors and all other interested citizens should take note.”


John J. Dilulio Jr., Frederic Fox Leadership Professor of Politics, Religion, and Civil Society, University of Pennsylvania, and first director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives


Bold yet balanced, God’s Economy will confound liberals and conservatives alike. By harnessing neglected insights from Catholic, Calvinist, and other overlapping traditions of reflection on authentic social pluralism, Daly’s book offers to put both the market and the state back where they belong—in the service of the plural communities in which people learn to love, serve, and even worship. Incisive, informed, and inspiring, this is public philosophy that packs a practical punch. Much needed in places high and low, God’s Economy takes the vital discussion of mediating institutions and faith-based initiatives three long steps forward. Daly is an exemplary guide.”


Patrick McKinley Brennan, John F. Scarpa Chair in Catholic Legal Studies,




God’s Economy is a remarkable effort to rethink the nature of state power, markets, and social life. Daly makes long-neglected conceptions of plural sovereignty relevant to a wide range of contemporary debates. The result is a bold, unique contribution to social thought.


William A. Galston, Senior Fellow in Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution


Balanced, thoughtful, and loaded with practical policy implications, Daly’s God’s Economy lifts the debates surrounding charitable choice and Bush’s—and now Obama’s—faith-based initiatives above the cultural wars of the left and the right by documenting their roots in Catholic and Calvinist social pluralist thinking. It thereby makes a powerful case for protecting communities—especially families and religious communities—from both the market and the state. In doing so, Daly persuasively argues that faith-based initiatives, if fully implemented, will lead to public policies more, not less, committed to helping those who are poor and on the margins of society.”


Stephen V.  Monsma, Professor Emeritus of Political Science,




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