Democratic policing of christianity

“in the name of supporting democracy, Christians police their own convictions to insure none of these convictions might cause difficulty for making democracy successful.”

dispatches from the front p105

PS hopefully you can see this passage is not about “policing” in the Garda/PSNI sense but more how we have rejected our convictions to fit liberal democracy.


8 Responses to “Democratic policing of christianity”

  1. 1 David April 18, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Hey Andy,

    Just wondering, does Hauerwas give any examples of the kind of convictions he has in mind?


  2. 2 Andy Neill April 18, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Most of the time he refers to war and Christian involvement in and support of it. I’m pretty sure he’d extend that to how we do business and how we do church too but i think war is probably the most concrete example i’d give.

  3. 3 David April 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Fair enough. So he’s referring to some forms of actually existing Christianity which serve to justify and maintain the status quo of modern liberal democracy (including all the militaristic baggage that goes along with that). I was just worried that he was trying to oppose Christian convictions and the principle of democracy. Rather he’s opposing Christianity and Empire.

    • 4 Andy Neill April 18, 2012 at 12:39 pm

      he actually states in the lines following that the question of whether Christians support democracy or what form of alternate government we would suggest is actually a constantinian question.

      He does acknowledge and accept that there’s good things in democracy he’s just critical of how Christians (and particularly in the US in his context) see democracy as “their” form of government; that it’s somehow particularly Christian.

  4. 5 David April 18, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Ok. I guess it’s a ‘constantinian question’ in the sense that it would be wrong to tie the gospel to any particular political ideology or form of government.

    However, sometimes I worry that Hauerwas’s ecclesiocentrism can tend towards an abdication of political responsibility.

    Although I probably haven’t read him enough to make that kind of judgement fairly

    • 6 Andy Neill April 18, 2012 at 1:16 pm

      Don’t worry it’s exactly the same thing everyone seems to worry about. Me included, I think i know in my head that it’s actually not the abdication that it appears, i’m just not sure how to articulate that as yet. yoder’s politics of Jesus is probably a reasonable starting point, though it’s still a million miles away from telling you who we should vote for!

  5. 7 David April 18, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Yoder is helpful in that he shows that Jesus and Christian practices of discipleship are deeply political.

    I guess I tend to think that the Hauerwasian concerns of positioning the church as an ‘alternative polis’ and unsettling Christian narratives which have been subsumed under nationalism or constantinianism can be achieved within the practice of Liberation Theology.

    For example, when people like William Cavanaugh write about the Eucharist as a Christian political response to globalisation I can’t help but feel like it’s a defeatist response to the feeling that global capitalism truly is the End of History.

    Now obviously there are political dimensions to the practice of the Eucharist, but to consider it a response to the issues posed by globalisation (unless it’s a part of a larger framework of responding to the issue) seems very idealistic (as opposed to materialistic) and naive.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


April 2012
« Mar   May »

%d bloggers like this: