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 every one other.
Heclo indicates that amid deeply felt spiritual ameliorations, a Protestant colonial society steadily confident itself of the really Christian purposes for, in addition to the enlightened political merits of, spiritual liberty. via the mid-twentieth century, American democracy and Christianity seemed locked in a mutual include. however it used to be a frustrating union at risk of primary 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 demanding argument, Mary Jo Bane, Michael Kazin, and Alan Wolfe criticize, qualify, and amend it. Heclo’s rejoinder indicates why either secularists and Christians should still fear a couple of coming rupture among the Christian and democratic faiths. the result's a full of life debate a couple of momentous pressure in American public existence.
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Additional info for Christianity and American Democracy (Alexis de Tocqueville Lectures on American Politics)
Christianity adds something radically historical to this general picture. In fact, this is the radical something that makes it Christianity. The Christian claim is that God invaded historical time by taking on the form and substance of a living human being in a particular place and time. None of the other historical religions even remotely claim such a thing. Given this specifically Christian view, thinking about history now becomes a more ambiguous task. In a sense, the centerpiece of God’s plan for history has already occurred in those few years at a marginal province of the Roman Empire.
47 By contrast, in the three Abrahamic religions, history—like Abram—is being called by God to go somewhere. In theological language, they are eschatological religions in that they look forward to the great consummation of a magnificent promise. Impelled by the Word of God, the world is moving toward the fulfillment of God’s plan for ending history as we know it. In playing out their part in this plan, the origin and development of each of these religions are denominated in terms of dates and events in a particular temporal order, known through written records.
Finally, as time went on from the seventeenth into the eighteenth century, ordinary Americans in their colonial outposts could continually hear about, without themselves suffering from, the struggles going on in their British homeland—the Puritan revolution against Charles I, the Restoration of Charles II, Monmouth’s Rebellion, the Revolution against James II, the Test Act, and so on. One did not need to be a philosopher or even particularly well-educated to learn about the futilities involved in the quest for an official Christianity.