In recent years, the United States seems more polarized and divided than ever. We see this in the public debate over LGBTQ rights, in challenges to religious liberty, in clashes over abortion, and in tension between law enforcement and minority communities. With all of this turmoil in law and society and such seemingly irresolvable differences in our beliefs, values, and identities, we are forced to ask—can we really live in peace together?

Confident Pluralism argues that we can and must live together peaceably in spite of deep and sometimes irresolvable differences over politics, religion, sexuality, and other important matters. We can do so in two important ways – by insisting on constitutional commitments that honor and protect difference and by embodying tolerance, humility, and patience in our speech, our collective action (protests, strikes, and boycotts), and our relationships across difference. Confident Pluralism suggests that it is often better to tolerate than to protest, better to project humility than defensiveness, and better to wait patiently for the fruits of persuasion than to force the consequences of coercion. Confident Pluralism will not give us the American Dream. But it might help avoid an American Nightmare.

Download the introduction to Confident Pluralism here and look for for videos, media interviews, and reviews of Confident Pluralism here.


About John Inazu

John Inazu is the Sally D. Danforth Distinguished Professor of Law and Religion at Washington University in St. Louis. He teaches courses in criminal law, law and religion, and the First Amendment. His scholarship focuses on the First Amendment freedoms of speech, assembly, and religion, and related issues of political and legal theory. John’s first book, Liberty’s Refuge: The Forgotten Freedom of Assembly, was published by Yale University Press in 2012. He has written broadly for mainstream audiences in publications including USA Today, CNN, The Hedgehog Review, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. John has a BSE and JD from Duke University and a PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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    Articles & Essays


    Going Forward Good morning, President Mullen, faculty, staff, and trustees of Houghton College.  Good morning, parents, families, and friends.  And good morning to the Class of 2017. This occasion is mostly about those of you graduating today.  But in a nod to your parents, I’m going to take us all back to the 1980s’ coming-of-age…

    Johnny Sneed on Confident Pluralism

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    Engagement With Confident Pluralism

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    James K.A. Smith on Confident Pluralism

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    Liz McCloskey on Confident Pluralism

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    Kevin den Dulk on Confident Pluralism

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    Phil Vischer on Confident Pluralism

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    We’re Right, They’re Wrong, That’s the End of the Story

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    Anne Snyder on Confident Pluralism and the Elusive Middle Ring

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    Michael Wear on Confident Pluralism

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    Christian Witness in an Anxious Age (with Tim Keller)

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    Interview with Canon and Culture

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    Jordan Ballor on Confident Pluralism

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    Michael Gerson on Confident Pluralism

    Michael Gerson discusses Confident Pluralism in his latest Washington Post column.  He suggests that I am “proposing a national cleanup effort to make our public life more pleasant and productive.”  And he concludes with this: “We should not play down the stakes. Tolerance, humility and patience are not the ornaments of a democracy, they are its essence.” Read…

    Mark Tushnet on Confident Pluralism

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    Eboo Patel on Confident Pluralism

    This is a guest post by Eboo Patel, founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based international nonprofit that aims to promote interfaith cooperation. Eboo is the author of two books, Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, in the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation and Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and…

    Carl Trueman on Confident Pluralism

    Carl Trueman, the Paul Woolley Professor of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary, has a review of Confident Pluralism at First Things. I am grateful for Professor Trueman’s engagement, even though, as his review makes clear, his pessimism runs deeper than mine. For example, I do not think that “people simply do not operate in…

    Confident Pluralism Study Guide

    I’m delighted to share a free study guide to accompany Confident Pluralism.  Like most authors, part of my goal in writing this book is to get people to talk about its ideas.  But I think the topics I address may be particularly well-suited to consider with a group of people rather than in isolation–this is,…

    Some Shorter Pieces on Confident Pluralism

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    Pete Wehner on Confident Pluralism

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    Tim Keller on Confident Pluralism

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    Confident Pluralism Across Deep Difference

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