Monday, October 19, 2009

Religion and Politics: Part I

On a both personal and general level I’ve been thinking about Religion (specifically Christianity) and Politics over the last few weeks. What role should religion play in politics? How does Christianity influence my public policy views? What’s best for Christianity (or any other religion) vis a vis politics?

This is a touchy subject with a roomful of caveats. For one it is hard to pin the nebulous word “influence.” What does influence actually mean? For second it really matters what type of political system we are addressing. For example, religion’s proper role in a liberal democracy like America will and should look a lot different than religion’s role under an apartheid regime like South Africa or an oligarchy dictatorship like Communist Eastern Europe. Christianity’s role in a political system of oppression is much clearer—a voice calling out in the wilderness. The trouble comes in a liberal democracy where the issues aren’t nearly straightforward as justice and life and death (I know, many people see issues in America as life and death). Other posts to follow will address religion in a liberal democracy, specifically Christianity’s role in the American political process. Stay tuned.


  1. "Christianity's role in a political system of oppression is much clearer--a voice calling out in the wilderness."

    That might be a bit optmistic for me, since Christianity has found itself on the oppressing side of more than a few political systems.

    Although, I agree that your assesment is how it should be.

  2. Good point. Whenever talking about Christianity and Politics, it is easy to focus on the just the good of Christianity (love your neighbor, etc) while ignoring the too often ugly history.

    On the other hand, it is easy to judge Christianity by 21st century standards, ignoring the work that it did within that culture at that time.

    More thinking will be required on my part...