Politics in the Context of Christianity
Ian Tuttle’s article “The Religious Right’s Demise” (November 7) argues that what is needed is an authentic Christian voice independent of politics. I agree. The Christian Church should boldly preach and speak publicly about spiritual and moral issues, but not get aligned with political parties or candidates. God ordained both the church and the state, giving them different missions and means. American Christians are members of both the church and the state. Individuals can certainly join and support political organizations and conservative-Christian-based non-church groups that take political actions.
The reality is that all laws are based on morality, which is based on religious beliefs, be they theistic or atheistic. The beliefs/morals of elected officials have a big impact on our laws and should be known and discussed. The progressive movement away from God’s instructions for our lives is bearing its bitter fruit. The major-party platforms have opposite positions on several moral issues and on court appointments affecting these issues and the freedom of religion. A strong Christian voice is needed now more than ever because of the attacks on our constitutional freedoms of religion and speech.
Robert C. Lemke
Ian Tuttle responds: The great literary critic Irving Babbitt wrote: “When studied with any degree of thoroughness, the economic problem will be found to run into the political problem, the political problem into the philosophical problem, and the philosophical problem itself to be almost indissolubly bound up at last with the religious problem” — which is to say, the good professor would likely agree with Mr. Lemke that our political order is ultimately grounded in theological assumptions, and I agree with Mr. Lemke that part of the duty of the Church is to expose the theological roots of political order — and, if necessary, replant that order in more nourishing soil. Americans have always had a pragmatic streak, preferring to sideline messy metaphysical questions, and it’s not difficult to see why. But a polity that becomes unmoored from the “permanent things” (to use Russell Kirk’s formulation) is likelier to turn citizens into subjects, to be exploited or destroyed. A vibrant Church, which is always attuned to higher realities, is the institution best situated to facilitate the opposite: a public life ruled first and foremost by charity.