Church and society: fusion or confusion of Christians?

Some of you may know that I’m a secret (actually not-so-secret) admirer of President Barack Obama, who I believe has a lot of admirable qualities. I believe that he will be known as one of the great political leaders of our day. But this article from the Catholic News Agency knocks some reality back into our consciousness. For those who are admirers (or even secret admirers) of Pres. Obama. We have to remember that he is not a messiah, but is only a man.

People packed St. Basil’s Church in Toronto on Monday listen to Archbishop Charles Chaput (Prelate of Denver) speak about how Catholics should live out their faith in the public square. This took place on the campus of the University of Toronto (St. Basil’s Church) and was attended by an overflow crowd of over 700 people. Here is what some of the article said:

“President Obama is a man of intelligence and some remarkable gifts. He has a great ability to inspire, as we saw from his very popular visit to Canada just this past week. But whatever his strengths, there’s no way to reinvent his record on abortion and related issues with rosy marketing about unity, hope and change. Of course, that can change. Some things really do change when a person reaches the White House. Power ennobles some men. It diminishes others. Bad policy ideas can be improved. Good policy ideas can find a way to flourish. But as Catholics, we at least need to be honest with ourselves and each other about the political facts we start with.”

Yet this will be “very hard for Catholics in the United States,” Chaput warned.
According to the archbishop, the political situation for Catholics is difficult to discern because a “spirit of adulation bordering on servility already exists among some of the same Democratic-friendly Catholic writers, scholars, editors and activists who once accused pro-lifers of being too cozy with Republicans. It turns out that Caesar is an equal opportunity employer.”

We have heard of conservative Christians and evangelicals cozying up with the Republicans (Conservatives); so much so that the two have almost become synonymous. Catholics and Protestants who lean left should also be aware of this fused identity of politics and church. It happens; and I have seen it amongst many mainline Christians who tend to lean left.

Here in Canada, the United Church of Canada (UCC), tend to lean toward the more liberal policies and politics of the New Democratic Party (NDP). I hear ramblings that the Saskatchewan NDP leader, and former Premier of Saskatchewan, Lorne Calvert, will become the next president of St. Andrew’s College (UCC) located here in Saskatoon, SK. Now if that’s not an example of fusion (or confusion) of politics and religion in a church, I don’t know what it is.

Click here to read the full article. It’s quite interesting.

Hat tip goes to Stan McCullars who just wrote a post based on this interesting article.

3 thoughts on “Church and society: fusion or confusion of Christians?

  1. Tim, yes Protestants are struggling big time. Mainline protestants seem to be open to all views and can vary on both ends of the political spectrum. With the church denominations supporting more liberal views, there is not much struggle with the denomination. Younger evangelicals are beginning to struggle with their traditional conservative values and may even disagree with some conservative values of their denomination. Things seem to be changing and are no longer black and white.


  2. Thanks for the hat tip.

    I found the article to be one of the most encouraging I’ve read in a while.


  3. Kevin,

    Thanks for the post. Bp. Chaput is one of the more outspoken, yet pastoral bishops in the US. Even though I live in Michigan, I know a number of people who have directly benefited from his leadership in Denver, particularly in the area of young adult ministry. He also has two really good books in print: “Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life” and “Living the Catholic Faith: Rediscovering the Basics”.

    The key point in his recent talk, as well as in those two books I mentioned, is that Catholics must rediscover their identity and come to a greater understanding of the responsibilities that comes with it. Those responsibilities consist in each Catholic coming to understand the breadth and wisdom of the Church’s social justice teachings, certainly beginning with the Life issues.

    I would imagine that many in the Protestant churches are struggling with the same identity problems?


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