Friday, September 17, 2010

"Religious Convictions Do Not Always Harmonize with Democracy"

Damon Linker's piece in the Washington Post on the need for political candidates to face a certain sort of "religious test" is provocative. Linker is right that "religious convictions do not always harmonize with the practice of democratic government." In an increasingly pluralistic society, I'm not sure Linker's proposal can be avoided, even though I don't expect the story will end well. What he says here is true:
It matters quite a lot if, in the end, a politician's faith is merely an ecumenical expression of American civil religion -- or if, when taking the religious test, he forthrightly declares (as Kennedy did) that in the event of a clash between his spiritual and political allegiances, the Constitution would always come first. Those are the easy cases. In others -- when a politician denies the need to choose or explain, insisting simply that it's possible to marry his or her religious beliefs with democratic rule in a pluralistic society -- we need to dig deeper, to determine as best we can how the candidate is likely to think and act when the divergent demands of those two realms collide, as they inevitably will.


Andy R said...

That article demonstrates the very reason why it is a good thing to have Article VI in the US constitution.

Jon Askonas said...

Pastor Mark Dever preached a wonderful message on a Christian view of government last Sunday. It's worth a listen to (it should be up on the website shortly).