American Idol

Article by Kurt W. Peterson

One of the most startling developments in the culture war is the apparent takeover of the Republican Party by conservative evangelicals who claim that the U.S. is a Christian nation, uniquely called and blessed by God. Fearing that the nation has strayed from the founders’ Christian intentions, conservative activists have dived into politics, hoping to …

An Incomplete Politics

Article by Robin Lovin

Along with campaign rallies and whistle-stop tours, each U.S. presidential race elicits ritual laments over the decline of politics and the failure of the electoral process. The formulas are by now well known: In an age of sound bites and spin doctors, we are unable to make real choices between policy alternatives. Real issues are …

Christian Politics ‘Reformation’ Style

Article by Robin Lovin

  Christians have in recent years thought much about political issues and rather less about politics. Abortion, the arms race, homelessness and human rights have exercised theologians’ tongues and pens, but little has been said about a fundamental theological assessment of the political order itself. Yet politics is as pervasive and determinative of human life …

Getting Organized

Article by Stephen Hart

Aurora Solis is typical of the people involved in faith-based organizing. Solis, a Mexican immigrant who grew up in a low-income home, works in a staff position at a high school in San Jose, California. She has been a U.S. citizen for only four years. But she was recruited by her pastor to serve on …

Nullifiers and Insurrectionists: America’s Antigovernment Tradition

Article by Robert Westbrook

A Necessary Evil: A History of American Distrust of Government. By Garry Wills. Simon & Schuster American intellectuals worthy of the name are thin on the ground these days — hard to find amidst swarms of academics incapable of addressing wide audiences and media pundits capable of addressing them only in clichés. Garry Wills has …

Prayed Politics

Article by Robert Bachelder

William H. Willimon and Stanley Hauerwas have charged that the church’s theology and ethics are atheistic (see "Embarrassed by God’s Presence," January 30, 1985) To this it can be added that the church’s approach to political life is unrelated to God — unrelated, that is, to the transcendent God of reformed Protestantism whose thoughts and …

Prophets and Politics

Article by Kenneth W. Thompson

Walter Lippmann in The Public Philosophy grapples with an issue that has long concerned Reinhold Niebuhr in lectures and writings, namely, the problem of a relevant political ethic. There are, Mr. Lippmann argues, two realms that earlier and wiser philosophers and theologians described as the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. The one …

Radical Middle

Article by R. Stephen Warner

Book Review: The Two Percent Solution: Fixing America’s Problems in Ways Liberals and Conservatives Can Love. By Matthew Miller: Public Affairs, 283 pp.   “Suppose I told you that for just two cents on the national dollar we could have a country where everyone had health insurance, every full-time worker earned a living wage, every …

Religion and the Moral Rhetoric of Presidential Politics

Article by Steven M. Tipton

Neither of the 1984 presidential candidates has fully understood the complexity of the other’s views on the religion-in-politics issue. Reagan is no theocrat and Walter Mondale no secularist, despite what each has implied about the other. More important, neither candidate’s recent statements have made clear the complexity of his own views on this issue. If …

Six Myths About Faith-Based Initiatives

Article by Mark Chaves

The White House initiative on faith-based social services, widely touted as ushering in a new era of partnership between governments and religious organizations, is based on several myths. Myth No. 1: Religious organizations face substantial discrimination when competing for government grants and contracts. Though occasionally some overzealous bureaucrats demand that as a condition of receiving …

Still on a Mission

Article by Robin Lovin

Book Review: God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World. By Walter Russell Mead. Knopf, 464 pp.   Walter Russell Mead was an early advocate of expanding American power in the vacuum left by the end of the cold war, and he supported the Iraq War in 2003. But his work …

The Case for Regulating Campaign Finances: A Religious Perspective

Article by Franklin I. Gamwell

Money plays an enormous role in selecting and electing our political leaders. Many doubt that any controls can be implemented to blunt the power and influence exercised by people with wealth. Nonetheless, a significant part of the American public thinks the situation has gotten out of hand. The nearly quantum leap in campaign spending over …

The Closet Socialists

Article by Michael Novak

Seldom have 1,200 words of mine generated so much attention as “A Closet Capitalist Confesses (Washington Post, March 14, 1976). Bruce Douglass’s temperate and reasoned reply in the Century’s pages (“Socialism and Sin,” December 1, 1976) provides a rare opportunity for discussion. On grand themes like “capitalism” and “socialism,” much passion is generated. Arguments are …