News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Put Off for Too Long

Friday, August 03, 2007

Put Off for Too Long

In some way, I have put off dealing directly with Xtian arguments from the Right for why they believe that their views should influence the political process in the US. I had a spat with Adam Kotsko over this issue on his Weblog, but I didn't carry those over to this blog. I will attempt to collect those remarks as prelude to debating the issues raised at Right Reason by Jeremy Pierce.

Pierce prefaces what he says will be an extended discussion of this issue with the following:

If I have the ability to influence my government by one vote for two senators, and every other Christian in my state has a similar ability, we can collectively influence the vote for those senatorial positions in a way that might have an impact. (This doesn't assume Christians will all vote for the same candidate, merely that if Christians do then they can have an impact.) If I have the ability and networking capability to set up a voter initiative and do what it takes to get it on the ballot and get people to vote for it, then I should seek to use such abilities. If I have the ability to fund-raise or to promote candidates, I should do so provided that my other responsibilities and means of loving my neighbors coordinate well enough with my doing such things. The same goes for running for office and serving in government or for accepting appointments from those in office who nominate Christians to serve. If it turns out to motivate the love of neighbor and to seek that goal best, consistent with balancing my other responsibilities, then that's something I ought to take very seriously.
Peirce says these views are shared by Augustine and that he's re-presenting them in a modern, evangelical framework. Perhaps that is so; but what are the reasons for doing so? The changed political context is so manifestly different between Augustine's milieu and our own. What could possibly legitimate a wholesale reappriation of such views from that context to the present?

Perhaps I can find time to discuss the possible answers to these questions in the coming days.

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