Thursday, March 11, 2010

Waking a Sleeping Giant: Will Christians Take Their Faith to the Public Arena?

I read an interesting article recently about Archbishop Chaput of Denver delivering a speech at the Houston Baptist University. In the speech, he said that President Kennedy's speech on faith and public policy was "sincere, compelling, articulate - and wrong". The archbishop was speaking about Kennedy's assertion that there was a divide between ones faith life and the implementation of public policy. Somehow, Christians began to believe their faith life was a personal journey and had no place in the public arena. This new paradigm lead many Christians to turn the other way and allow our public leaders to enact legislation that is in clear violation of Christian morals and values. The fruits of this inaction has been a country where the dignity of the human person has been ignored. To prove this, all anyone has to do is turn on the TV.

In the 1980s and 90s, there were signs that this paradigm may be changing with the advent of the "Moral Majority" movement. However, this group's alignment as a conservative Protestant organization with ties to the far right of the Republican party lead to it becoming irrelevant in public life.

But there are broader signs that this paradigm maybe coming to an end. Catholic Bishops are now making a stand on health care legislation. Grassroots organizations like are mobilizing people to become engaged in public debate. There has been a lot of "push back" on the issue of same-sex marriage. Much of this activity is coming from Christians of all faith traditions and from the "center" of the political spectrum in the United States. The Catholic Church being the largest of these faith traditions to make a stand.

Are we finally seeing Christians waking up from a long nap and finding a country that they do not understand? A country where their ideals are called mean spirited and hateful by a very small but vocal minority.

I think the answer is yes; especially when you see dialogue between diverse groups of Christians like Archbishop Chaput's speech at Houston Baptist University.

You can read Archbishop Chaput's speech in its entirety here.

1 comment:

  1. The Second Vatican Council explained in Apostolicam actuositatem that the apostolate of the laity is to renew the temporal order. That is, Christian laymen have the duty to act in accordance with the truths they know from divine revelation to improve society so that humanity may more easily reach its glorious destiny. They would be selfish and uncharitable, if they acted otherwise.