William Galston is fascinated by Rawls's relationship with religion:
Many of Rawls's students regarded him as a secular saint, and he may well have been. But judging from the writing of his youth, the aspects of his bearing that made him so compelling as a teacher and human being were rooted in a religious sensibility that made it impossible for him to approach politics on its own terms. Even at its best, politics cannot be a branch of moral philosophy, or a kind of rational choice, or the product of deliberations among reasonable people. While politics is not without norms and standards, it must reflect the nature of the human species as self-interested and passionate as well as reasonable--and as capable of destruction as well as cooperation. Political norms and standards must also take into account the distinctive difficulties of collective action and the means sometimes needed to enforce compliance. If we look at political life from too high an altitude, we can no longer see it as it is.