Sunday, June 19, 2005

Onward, moderate Christian soldiers :: New York Times

John C. Danforth is an Episcopal minister and former Republican senator from Missouri. He writes:
our approach to politics is at least as faithful as that of those who are more conservative. Our difference concerns the extent to which government should, or even can, translate religious beliefs into the laws of the state.

People of faith have the right, and perhaps the obligation, to bring their values to bear in politics. Many conservative Christians approach politics with a certainty that they know God's truth, and that they can advance the kingdom of God through governmental action. So they have developed a political agenda that they believe advances God's kingdom, one that includes efforts to "put God back" into the public square and to pass a constitutional amendment intended to protect marriage from the perceived threat of homosexuality.

Moderate Christians are less certain about when and how our beliefs can be translated into statutory form, not because of a lack of faith in God but because of a healthy acknowledgement of the limitations of human beings. Like conservative Christians, we attend church, read the Bible and say our prayers.

But for us, the only absolute standard of behavior is the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. Repeatedly in the Gospels, we find that the Love Commandment takes precedence when it conflicts with laws. We struggle to follow that commandment as we face the realities of everyday living, and we do not agree that our responsibility to live as Christians can be codified by legislators.
"People of faith have the right, and perhaps the obligation, to bring their values to bear in politics." Indeed they do. If you are a Christian, it should make a difference in the way you engage life.

1 comment:

EclectEcon said...

As I recall, Paul Tillich was often quoted as having said that you cannot call yourself a Christian and not be a socialist.