Dark Christianity
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May 2008
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LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]luxetumbra)

(Apologies if this has been posted before - scanned the comm, but didn't see it.)

THE CHRISTIANIZING OF AMERICA A review of Catholic Matters: Confusion, Controversy, and the Splendor of Truth by Richard John Neuhaus (Use Bugmenot to read it if you can't see the whole thing.)

These statements make it quite clear that Neuhaus longs for an omnivorous Catholic Church to devour and to absorb American culture and public life. Short of universal conversion to traditionalist Catholicism on the part of the American people, this effort to Catholicize the nation and its public philosophy would surely generate much more division and do far more to heighten sectarian tensions than the rise of the Moral Majority ever did. (One wonders,for example, how even Neuhaus's traditionalist Protestant allies will respond to his ecclesiological boast that the Catholic Church is "the gravitational center of the Christian reality, the Church of Jesus Christ most fully and rightly ordered through time.")

And what would the Catholicizing of the United States portend for the country's millions of non-traditionalist Christians and Jews, let alone its many Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, and agnostics? To judge from a troubling essay that Neuhaus wrote in 1991, they would likely have to be excluded from the category of good citizenship. Focusing on unbelievers, he declared that while "an atheist can be a citizen" of the United States, it is on principle impossible for an atheist to be"a good citizen." The godless, he maintained, are simply incapable of giving a "morally convincing account" of the nation--a necessary condition for fruitful participation in its experiment in "ordered liberty." To be morally convincing, such an account must make reference to "reasons that draw authority from that which is higher than the self, from that which is external to the self, from that to which the self is ultimately obligated." No wonder, then, that it is "those who believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus [who] turn out to be the best citizens."

A long article, but worth the read. Here's another good article about Neuhaus and his history, if you're curious. (He was also a domestic policy adviser to Bush on stem-cell policy and gay rights).

BTW, anyone know when Damon Linker became a liberal? (or more liberal-ish - just like Kevin Phillips, I'm not sure how to describe him now.) He used to be the assistant editor of the more-Catholic-than-thou First Things, but I haven't seen any articles about there being a falling out between him and Neuhaus, the chief editor of that magazine. Linker has a book coming out in September with more about Neuhaus and Co., Theocons: Secular America Under Siege. I think I'll be picking it up.

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