James Davison Hunter in To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy & Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World, pp. 274-75
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Political Philosophy Undermining the Gospel
". . . most Christians cannot imagine power in any other way than toward what finally leads to political domination. Thus, it is not surprising that, in conformity to the spirit of the modern age, Christians conceive of power as political power. Christians, like most modern people, have politicized every aspect of public life and private life as well- from church/state issues, education, the media, entertainment and the arts, and the environment to family values, sexuality, and parenting. In this, they mistakenly imagine that to pass a referendum, elect a candidate, pass a law, or change a policy is to change culture. In truth they probably know better, but in terms of the amount of energy expended and money spent, the net effect is a view much like this. While Christian activists (conservative and progressive) have been fairly influential in the political sphere at different times in recent decades, they have embraced a means to power that seethes with resentment, anger, and bitterness for the injury they believe they have suffered. The public and political culture of contemporary Christianity have become defined by such negations. There is nothing illegal about any of this, of course. Christians believe that they have a legitimate right to participate in the democratic process and they are, of course, right. The problem resides with the political culture they not only embrace but have helped to create. The tragic irony is that in the name of resisting the dark nihilisms of the modern age, Christians- in their will to power and the ressentiment that fuels it- perpetuate that nihilism. In so doing, Christians undermine the message of the very gospel they cherish and desire to advance."