Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Church and State: Differing Views

Chris Tessone, an independent Catholic priest, blogged about a recent panel discussion he attended. One recurrent theme he highlights is religious support for the state. The comments on the post are well worth reading, too!

I went to see a fascinating panel at the Law School tonight, hosted by the Duke Law Dems — Stanley Hauerwas, some local evangelical pastor with a PhD from Southeastern, and Howard Lesnick from UPenn Law discussed religion in the public sphere. It would take me a lot of posts to cover all the stuff that was talked about during the two hour panel, but a couple of specific themes came up that I found interesting.

First, the megachurch pastor kept returning to the notion that government is in some significant way divinely ordained. He suggested that Paul's supposed willingness to be executed in Acts 25, coupled with Romans 13, gave a divine imprimatur to the American government. The idea that Paul — who is convinced he has done nothing wrong — is making a statement about the right of Rome to execute people is a bit of a stretch in itself. Dr Hauerwas interrupted the megachurch pastor to mention that Romans 13 cannot be separated from Romans 12 without serious susceptibility to the same kinds of authoritarian theologies that led German Lutherans to serve the Reich. (This was delivered with a conviction and authority that, in my opinion at least, avoided invoking Godwin's Law. :-) ) If the government is to accept the authority supposedly afforded it under Romans 13, it must be prepared to accept the burning coals heaped on its head for its injustices against the righteous
Read the whole post here:



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