By Hugh Heclo
Christianity, now not faith more often than not, has been very important for American democracy. With this daring thesis, Hugh Heclo bargains a wide ranging view of the way Christianity and democracy have formed each one other.
Heclo exhibits that amid deeply felt spiritual changes, a Protestant colonial society progressively confident itself of the really Christian purposes for, in addition to the enlightened political merits of, non secular liberty. by means of the mid-twentieth century, American democracy and Christianity seemed locked in a mutual include. however it was once a not easy union at risk of basic problem within the Sixties. regardless of the next upward thrust of the non secular correct and glib speak of a conservative Republican theocracy, Heclo sees a longer-term, reciprocal estrangement among Christianity and American democracy.
Responding to his difficult argument, Mary Jo Bane, Michael Kazin, and Alan Wolfe criticize, qualify, and amend it. Heclo’s rejoinder indicates why either secularists and Christians may still fear a few coming rupture among the Christian and democratic faiths. the result's a full of life debate a couple of momentous pressure in American public lifestyles.
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Additional resources for Christianity and American Democracy (Alexis de Tocqueville Lectures on American Politics)
One reason was a prudent desire to avoid stirring up trouble while trying to persuade Americans to unite around common political endeavors (fight a revolution, create articles of confederation, empower a truly national government under a new constitution). 36 It was/is a God that created men in his image, endowed them with rights, took a “providential” interest in human affairs, judged individuals and peoples according to his righteousness and, not least, took a special interest in the American nation.
Its thousand years were not calendar years but a poetic expression for the perfect fullness of its duration. Essentially, human history since its culmination with Christ’s first coming was not a story or progress, or a regress, or alternations between the two. It was a parenthesis during which two kingdoms, wheat and tares (or in Augustine’s metaphor, the City of God and the city of man), existed together awaiting Christ’s second coming and last judgment. The fact that the thousand-year reign of Christ with his believers was already here was not a call to quietism (though some took it that way).
This innate inclination is something wholly inconsistent with the substance of a religion that disavows any dependence on or truck with worldly powers. Following their God’s example, Christians are called to the unworldly ideas of loving their enemies and of defending the truth of their religion by suffering and dying, not by ruling and killing. The second danger—an official Christianity’s propensity to upset any peaceful political order—is less obvious to us today but is worth serious attention.
Christianity and American Democracy (Alexis de Tocqueville Lectures on American Politics) by Hugh Heclo