Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Mark DeForrest on the Public Value of Religion

Check it out at The New Reform Club here. Such is a blog that features a current AC contributor, a past AC contributor and other talented folks. A taste:
... Almost to a man, the American Founders understood that it was faith in God, a God who stood above and beyond the State, that makes the idea of limited government possible, that makes the idea of human rights possible, that makes the idea of common, ordinary people rising up to resist tyranny possible. ...

4 comments:

JMS said...

Jon – I’ll go with your take on Rush’s assertions from your 1/22/2008 archive, instead of Mark’s.

"Rush's assertions I think illustrate the danger in government seeking to use religion for civil ends. Such risks corrupting the purity of orthodox religion. We've already seen Rush arguably do this in denying eternal damnation and venerating what orthodox Christians consider "false religions" which lead people to perdition. Clearly, republicanism as articulated by 18th Century American Whigs did not spring from the orthodox Christian religion or the Bible. And attempts to make it seem as though it did, no matter how useful politically, still distorts the traditional Christian religion into something it isn't. See for instance Samuel Langdon's sermon absurdly declaring that the Ancient Jews had a "republic," when in reality, they had a theocracy."

As for Mark's article, please let's not get into Scruton's good-old-days school of extreme Anglican/Tory traditionalism a la Archbishop Cranmer.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Anonymous JMS said...
Jon – I’ll go with your take on Rush’s assertions from your 1/22/2008 archive, instead of Mark’s.

"Rush's assertions I think illustrate the danger in government seeking to use religion for civil ends. Such risks corrupting the purity of orthodox religion


As a universalist, it was Rush who corrupted orthodox Christianity regardless. He has no standing here.

Actually the better argument is somewhere within Adam Smith and here and there in Madison and Franklin, that government support for religion petrifies it, that it becomes unresponsive to the flock both pastorally and theologically.

Of course that's an argument the heterodox would make. ;-)

But this shows that the real fear was the state corrupting the church--not vice-versa [theocracy! theocracy!], which is the real bleat of our strict separationist secular leftists. They are completely unalarmed that today's American Protestant mainline [and its Reform Judaism] are "indistinguishable from the Democratic Party except for their holidays."

Let's get real here.

Jonathan Rowe said...

JMS: Yes the concept of a "republic" has nothing to do with the Bible. Its creation is wholly from the Greco-Roman tradition. And by the time Jesus got onto the scene, Rome had already transformed from a noble republic to an ignoble empire.

Yet, as Christianity came to rule Western Civilization, the Greco-Roman was subsumed into Judeo-Christianity.

The notion that the Hebrews had a "republic" was posited, even if it's a "reinvisioning." Rush is doing something similar here.

jimmiraybob said...

"But this shows that the real fear was the state corrupting the church--not vice-versa..."

This may have been a fear within the churches and by some of the founders but to a much larger extent the fear was what commingling of religious and political realms, via governance, would do to the liberties of the people. The founders were looking at centuries of European and colonial religious-political strife and warfare and the aversion of pluralism within the various sects - to the point of severe oppression. To be a free nation of many political, philosophical and religious sects meant giving no official sanction, or at least as little as possible, to one over another.

To give true political power to the people they had to restrain zealous ecclesiastical and sectarian ambitions to governing control while leaving the people as free as possible to practice their religions in peace.