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S E P T E MB E R / OCT O B E R 2 0 0 4 | MODE R N R E F OR MAT I O N 2 3

he pastor of my
local church
caused no small
stir several years
ago when he removed the
American flag from its perch
just behind the pulpit.
Indeed, he removed it from
the sanctuary entirely. As you
might imagine, this provoked
some consternation among at
least a few members, who no
doubt wondered if this brash
new pastor, late of graduate
school and ministry in
England, might have acquired
some suspect loyalties during
his years abroad. It was not
anti-Americanism or any other lack of patriotism
that animated his decision, however. Reared in a
small town in the verdant rolling hills of the
Bluegrass State, he is as red-blooded an American as
you will find, possessed of a deep and abiding love
for his country. He will with gratitude and pride
salute the flag when given occasion to do so. So
why remove it from the sanctuary? Most simply, he
wanted to brook no confusion that the church offers
its worship only to Christand not to America.
More deeply, he saw the flags prominence in the
pulpit, even its very presence in the sanctuary, as
potentially obscuring the distinction between the
Kingdom of God and the
kingdom of man. He sought
to make sure that there was no
confusion over his primary
calling and our primary iden-
tity. As a minister of Christs
church, he is charged with
preaching the Word of God
to our congregation, holding
our consciences captive to
Gods revelation as our ulti-
mate authority and to Gods
name as our ultimate loyalty,
no matter our earthly citizen-
ship or nationality. The mere
presence of an American flag
does not necessarily defy this
distinction, of course. But it
may confuse or undermine it.
This is not to say that the virtually ubiquitous
American flags in sanctuaries across the United
States necessarily indicate some sort of latter-day
Babylonian captivity of the churchin this case a
captivity to jingoistic nationalism. No doubt
some, perhaps even many, congregations keep a
flag in their church while also keeping a clear
understanding of the distinction between the
church and the world. Nevertheless, the perva-
siveness of pulpit flags should give us pause.
Especially because they serve as just one visible
manifestation of a deeper problem: the frequent
T
One Cheer
for Civil Religion?
by WI LLI AM I NBODEN
THE CHRI STI AN VOTER S GUI DE
confusion of civil religion with biblical
Christianity.
What is civil religion? According to historian
(and Christian) Wilfred McClay, civil religion is
that strain of American piety that bestows many of
the elements of religious sentiment and faith upon
the political and social institutions of the United
States. More problematically, civil religion is the
misidentification of the nation of the United States
with the covenant people of God. It is the casual
assumption that America enjoys a special role in
redemptive history. It is the confusion of the office
of the political leader with the office of the spiritu-
al leader. It is the frequent presumption of divine
blessings without submission to divine judgment.
It is the sublimation of Christian distinctives to a
generic amalgam that conflates many faiths into a
common national identity. It is as old as America
itself. And it is not biblical Christianity.
This is the first and by far most vital distinction to
keep in mind. Though civil religion may at times
draw on biblical resources, though it may on occa-
sion employ Christian imagery, though it may appeal
24 WWW. M O DE R N R E F O R M AT I O N . O R G
to many professing Christians, it differs from biblical
Christianity in fundamental ways. Christianity holds
that the people of God are all those who, irrespective
of tribe or tongue, have repented of their sins, trust-
ed wholly in Christs substitutionary death for their
forgiveness, been reconciled to God through his
redeeming grace, and joined in the life of the church.
Civil religion instead often holds that Gods people
are those who dwell in a particular nation-state and
faithfully uphold their civic duties. Christianity
holds that mans chief end is, in the words of the
Westminster Confession, to glorify God and enjoy
him forever. Civil religion, at its worst, holds that
Gods chief end is to preserve and bless the nation-
state. Christianity is worship of the one true God.
Civil religion, at its most pernicious, is idolatry.
It must quickly be said, however, that civil religion
is not always this problematic, or even this objec-
tionable. When the distinction between civil reli-
gion and biblical Christianity is kept clear, the former
can at times serve as a helpful and even necessary
source of civic virtue. In other words, civil religion at
its best functions as a sort of natural theology affirm-
W
eve all seen the biblical scorecard liter-
ature that floats about during election
seasons, grading candidates based on
their voting record. The criteria are usu-
ally the same: pro-life, pro-family, pro-
morality. Most of us would hopefully
agree that one is safe in concluding that these are indeed biblical
objectives. The problem comes when a whole series of specific
policies are deduced, as if they were logically required by com-
mitment to those values. In a lot of these scorecards, for example,
God has apparently declared himself in favor of a specific tax cut,
a particular war, school prayer, and a Constitutional ban on flag
burning. A lot of them get more specific even than that. Usually,
by the way, they are not very specific about racial discrimination,
environmental disaster, or piling up debt for future generations.
On one end are those who think that God doesnt have anything
to say about politics. Can we imagine that the God who created the
world, upholds it every moment by his providence, has redeemed it
at the cost of his own Sons death, and will one day make it new, does
not really care what we do to it or in it? On the other end are those
who think that they can deduce Gods will on every congressional
vote: If x, then y; if y, then z. Cant you see that if you dont adopt z,
you dont really accept x? But whenever the church thinks God has
told it more than he actually has, it has always reflected poorly on
God and his cause in the world. Many who take biblical scorecard
folks word for it that Scripture clearly supports conservative
Republicanpolicies simply reject Scripture. Tobe sure, they probably
already had, but nowthey feel more justified in doing so. They have
missed the point that Scripture was not given as a blueprint for a holy
government with civil power, but to reveal Christ as the hope of his-
tory and the world beyond the stop-gap measures of politics, hospi-
tals, jails, and other means of restraining the damage that sin does.
The biblical scorecard approach has been effective on the left
as much as the political right. It is often not differences over
whether God is on their side in every jot and tittle of their ideolo-
gy, but a matter of which ideology is so privileged.
Here are a fewsuggestions for thinking biblically at election time:
1. Clearly distinguish the role of the church as an institution from
the role of Christians as citizens in the world. Especially in a
democracy, Christians have every reason to be involved,
informed and engaged in the pressing questions of our day.
However, the church itself is not an American institution, but a
colony of Christs heavenly kingdom in this present age.
Have You Received Y
S E P T E MB E R / OCT O B E R 2 0 0 4 | MODE R N R E F OR MAT I O N 2 5
ing certain truths that God has revealed in creation.
These might include that God is above governments
and ordains their authority, that he has bestowed on
man certain rights, freedoms, and responsibilities,
that he is the source of all material goods and bless-
ings, and that all people and nations are subject to his
judgment, both here and in the hereafter. It is good
and right for governments and peoples to acknowl-
edge a sovereigndivine lawgiver, provider, andjudge.
Civil religion at its best affirms these truths. In doing
so, it canhelpproduce goodcitizens andevena good
society. But it cannot save sinners.
Civil Religion in History
C
ivil religion is nothing new. In some ways
it is as old as both church and state. What
the eighteenth-century historian Edward
Gibbon famously observed about ancient Rome
might well be true in some circles today: The var-
ious modes of worship which prevailed in the
Roman world were all considered by the people as
equally true; by the philosopher as equally false;
and by the magistrate as equally useful. His wry
observation, which could be said of many other
nations and cultures besides ancient Rome, should
caution political leaders against manipulating reli-
gious faith, and religious leaders against placing
their faith in the service of the state. Winston
Churchill, for one, took a more humble and more
honest perspective. Asked if he considered himself
to be, like his devout Anglican colleague Lord
Halifax, a pillar of the church, Churchill replied
that he was not, but rather was a flying buttress.
While professing support for the presence of the
church in his country, Churchill recognized that he
was neither a part of the church nor in control of it.
Civil religion is inseparable from history, partic-
ularly because it often bases itself on a distinctive
view of the past. Rather than attempt a compre-
hensive survey of civil religion throughout
American history, this essay will focus on just two
periods in our nations past, the founding and the
early Cold War years, to illustrate how civil reli-
gion originated and to show how this view of the
past informs the present. Indeed, some of todays
most contested political debates often appeal to
Patriotism, for example, is terrific for the public square and a
Christian ought not to have trouble expressing it along with
non-Christian neighbors. But it is completely out of place in
Christian worship. Further, the church simply does not have the
authorization or usually the competence to address complex
policy questions about which many of its own members might
with good reason disagree. This relates to the next point.
2. Clearly distinguish divine command from questions of wisdom
and prudence. When you think about it, God has not com-
manded very many things. He makes few laws, but enforces
them. Further, the churches of the Reformation insist that
Scripture alone can command the conscience. We cannot be
required to believe or do anything that does not have scriptural
warrant. Of course, many brothers and sisters think that they
have scriptural warrant for every policy position they take, but
they often confuse their own thinking with the Bible. There is
nothing wrong with using ones own mind! God has equipped
us with reason and endowed us with a sense of justice, so that
even non-Christians can create a reasonably equitable govern-
ment. Christians who agree on the big questions clearly
addressed in Scripture may and do disagree over policy ques-
tionsin other words, how to implement or apply the civil use
of the law. We have to alloweach other roomto disagree with-
out judging them to be somehow unfaithful to Scripture.
3. Try not to read the Bible selectively. God is not a Republican.
Hes not a Democrat either. We have to remember that any
political ideology is a reflection of questions raised by the secu-
lar culture in a given time and place. The biblical scorecard is
not actually biblical. There is no official Word from God on
whether we should have a tax cut or what kind of cut it should
be. Even when we think were on solid biblical ground, we often
realize that somewhere else in Scripture another biblical value is
affirmed as just as important, and we cannot sacrifice it for this
other value over here. We have to allow Scripture to give us
better questions and a fuller interpretation of reality than we
already have by simply listening to the cultural left or right.
Michael Horton (Ph.D., Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and the University of
Coventry) is professor of apologetics and theology at Westminster Seminary
California (Escondido, California).
Your Biblical Scorecard?
b y MI CHAEL HORTON
the question of just how religiousor irreligious
were Americas founders. How often, after all, does
one hear calls for the United States to return to its
biblical roots, its Christian heritage? Such theo-
logical irredentism is correct in at least one respect.
Many of the early English settlers did come with
the goal of building a distinctively Christian com-
munity. Many others did not, of course; they came
for political liberty or often just to make money.
But even the first Massachusetts Puritans did not see
themselves as founding a new nation-state, and cer-
tainly not a Christian nation-state. Rather, they
only sought to establish a new Christian communi-
ty, while still retaining their English citizenship.
Out of this context came one of the most famous
yet least understood sermons in American history.
John Winthrop, the hardy leader of one of the earliest
groups of Puritans, in 1630 preached a message to his
companions while they sailed onboard their ship, the
Arbella, to America. Winthrop described himself and
his people as a company professing ourselves fellow
members of Christ. And while he believed that the
Lord will be our God, and delight to dwell among us
as His own people, and will command a blessing upon
us inall our ways, Winthropalsoinvokeddivine judg-
ment on himself and his fellowChristians should they
break their covenant with God.
[W]e shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes
of all people are upon us, so that if we shall
deal falsely with our God in this work we have
undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw
His present help from us, we shall be made a
story and a by-word through the world.
The city upon a hill, self-consciously echoing
Christs words in Matthew, referred not to a new
nation-state but to a new church community. It
would serve as a gospel model first to their fellow
Englishmen and then to the rest of the world.
Note also that Winthrop warned his people that if
they were unfaithful to God, he would remove his
blessing and cause their errand to fail. The whole
world would still be watching the city upon a hill,
but all the world would see would be the city col-
lapsing miserably under wrathful divine judgment.
Such were the promises and peril that attended the
first Puritan settlements in Massachusetts. It was
not civil religion, but a distinctive brand of
Christianity that animated these Puritans.
The many glories of colonial New England
notwithstanding, the Puritans original mission ended
in abject failure. Not only did the English Church
eventually stop paying attention to the efforts of
their brethren to establish a model Christian society
in the new world, but the American Puritans them-
26 WWW. M O DE R N R E F O R M AT I O N . O R G
selves over time lost much of their Christian devo-
tion and doctrine, until Puritanism as a distinctive
religious movement had largely disappeared. Their
descendants still had their new land, however, and
decided to make it a new nation. As the late Perry
Miller famously described the Puritan legacy, having
failed to rivet the eyes of the world upon their city on
a hill, they were left alone with America.
In other words, rather than being founded as a
distinctively Christian nation-state, the birth of the
United States came as almost an accidental by-prod-
uct of a failed Christian community. This is not at all
to say that Christianity was completely absent from
the American founding itself. In the revolutionary
era, the Founding Fathers drew on three principal
sources in conceiving the ideals and institutions of
the United States: classical Greco-Roman thought,
Enlightenment rationalism, and Christianity. From
this intellectual ferment came the founding principles
of the new nation, and not coincidentally, the birth
of the American civil religion. In turn, it is not too
much of a stretch to say that the American
Revolution would not have happened without the
support offered by this new civil religion.
Consider the following examples. Most obvious-
ly, Thomas Jeffersons affirmation in the Declaration
of Independence that all men are created equal . . .
[and] are endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable rights reiterates the conviction that our
rights came ultimately from God, not government or
man. Less well-known are the resolutions adopted by
the Continental Congress throughout the
Revolutionary War, setting aside particular days for
Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer. One such resolu-
tion, issued in 1777 and distributed throughout the
churches of the land, called on all Americans to join
the penitent confession of their manifold sins and
their humble and earnest supplication that it may
please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mer-
cifully to forgive and blot themout of remembrance.
Several themes emerge here: awareness of sin,
dependence on Gods providence, the urge to stay
faithful, the belief that God had a special relationship
with America, and even the explicit invocation of
Christ. And the first Congress seems to have prac-
ticed what it preached. After convening in 1774, the
Continental Congress immediately selected a chap-
lain to open its sessions in prayer. The Rev. Jacob
Duche, an Anglican priest from Philadelphia, served
as the first Congressional chaplain from 1774 until
1777. His term ended not because he retired but
because he defected to the Britishthe Benedict
Arnold of civil religion, perhaps. Finally, after declar-
ing independence in 1776, Congress solicited ideas
for a national seal. Both Benjamin Franklin and
Jefferson suggested a depiction of God drowning
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Pharaohs army inthe RedSea andrescuing the nation
of Israel from slavery in Egyptshowing what they
regarded as the common theme of Gods granting lib-
ertytohis chosenpeople, whether the OldTestament
Israelites or the new world Americans.
These examples are just a few of many that well
illustrate the emerging civil religion. Here it is cru-
cial to remember that the American founders
employed a natural theology rather than a revealed
theology to establish the intellectual foundations
of their new land. Just look again at the language
of the Declaration of Independence: we hold
these truths to be self-evident. In short, the God
that most of the founders believed in epitomized
reason, virtue, order, and libertythough not nec-
essarily perfect holiness, wrath, love, and grace. As
Mark Noll has observed, most of the founders
(many of whom were not orthodox Christians)
found in God what they most admired in humani-
ty. It might also be said that they found in religion
what they most admired in their nation.
Civil Religion in the Modern Era
O
n February 1, 1953, at the National
Presbyterian Church in Washington D.C.,
the Rev. Edward Elson baptized the newest
member of his congregation. Elson also made his-
tory, of a sort. The person baptized was Dwight D.
Eisenhower, just inaugurated as president of the
United Statesand the only president to be bap-
tized while in office. Besides its spiritual signifi-
cance for Eisenhowers faith, his baptism also repre-
sented a new era of public religiosity in American
life. From Eisenhowers unprecedented offering of
his own prayer before his inaugural address, to his
decision to have Cabinet meetings open with prayer,
to the creation of the National Prayer Breakfast, to
adopting In God We Trust as the United States
motto and printing it on the nations paper currency,
to adding one nation, under God to the pledge of
allegiance, the Eisenhower administration oversaw
the reinvigoration, even the reestablishment, of
American civil religion.
It was such a creed that in part prompted
Eisenhowers most infamous, yet revealing, comment
on religion. On December 22, 1952, Eisenhower,
then president-elect, met in New York with his old
counterpart and friend from World War II days,
Marshal Grigori Zhukov of the Soviet army.
Describing their discussion at a press conference
afterwards, Eisenhower delivered fodder for critics of
civil religionand of his own intellectfor genera-
tions since. After quoting the Declaration of
Independences recognition that all men are created
equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable rights, Eisenhower offered this interpre-
tation: In other words, our form of government has
no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious
faith, and I dont care what it is. With us of course it
is the Judeo-Christian concept but it must be a reli-
gion that all men are created equal. So what was the
use of me talking to Zhukov about that? Religion, he
had been taught, was the opiate of the people.
This quote by Eisenhower illustrates the worst
and the best of civil religion. At its worst, doctrine
and theological truth-claims are rendered largely
irrelevant. Of particular concern to Christians, the
redeeming work of Christ is wholly disregarded,
replaced by moralism and a crude, nonredemptive
natural theology. At its best, it unites a society
around a few basic truths, including the distinction
between creature and Creator, the supremacy of God
over government, and the inherent dignity and
equality of all human beings. If Irving Kristol could
muster two cheers for capitalism, in the same spirit
we might say that civil religion merits just one cheer.
A contemporary observer in Eisenhowers day, the
Jewish social scientist Will Herberg considered the
nature andparadox of the altogether newfaiththat he
saw emerging in America. Though written in 1955,
his description of civil religion in his classic Protestant,
Catholic, Jew: An Essay in American Religious Sociology, is
no less applicable today. Herberg observed that the
American people had become more religious than at
any time in the nations history. Yet this new level of
religiosity was accompanied by a new secularism,
not defined by unbelief but by the diminished author-
ity of religion over peoples lives. The religion which
actually prevails among Americans today has lost
much of its authentic Christian (or Jewish) content.
Even when [Americans] are thinking, feeling, or act-
ing religiously, their thinking, feeling, and acting do
not bear an unequivocal relation to the faiths they
profess. Instead, Herberg argued that while
Americans at one level affirmed the theological dis-
tinctives of their respective faiths, these distinctives
gave way to a more transcendent new faith that
trumped all else: The American Way of Life.
Herbergs American Way of Life was moralistic,
idealistic yet pragmatic, fiercely democratic, and fer-
vently anticommunist. This newfaith genuinely val-
ued traditional religion and sincerely believed in
God. However, in a profound teleological shift, no
longer was Jesus Christ (for Christians) or even God
(for Christians and Jews) the final object of faith, but
rather religion and faith were taken to be ends in
themselves, as objects of devotion, as indispensable
for societys foundations. No doubt this civil-reli-
gious faith played an indispensable role in bolster-
ing American resolve against the unmitigated evil of
Soviet communism during the Cold War. It also
helped shape national cohesion and build social cap-
ital for a well-ordered society. Unfortunately it also
further blurred the distinction between creation and
redemption, between the world and the church,
between the city of man and the City of God. What
may have been good for the country was at the same
time bad for the church. And in the long term, what
is bad for the church is also bad for the country.
Civil Religion in the Balance
S
urveying our present situation, Wilfred
McClay describes civil religions inherently
problematic relationship to the Christian
faith or any other serious religious tradition. At
best, it provides a secular grounding for that faith,
one that makes political institutions more respon-
sive to calls for self-examination and repentance, as
well as exertion and sacrifice for the common
good. At worst, it can provide divine warrant to
unscrupulous acts, cheapen religious language, turn
clergy into robed flunkies of the state and the cul-
ture, and bring the simulacrumof religious awe into
places where it doesnt belong.
The civil religion of the Eisenhower era is essen-
tially the version still with us today. Blandly patri-
otic, optimistic, therapeutic, more spiritual than
confessional, it reinforces much of the pervasive
religiosity in America that is as resilient as it is
amorphous. As Herberg observed, religion and
28 WWW. M O DE R N R E F O R M AT I O N . O R G
faith are often seen as ends in themselves, and
doctrine is regarded as unnecessary and divisive
rather than as essential to determining truth.
Moreover, this civil religion too often reassures us
of the favor we enjoy from God while eschewing
any call to repentance from our sin. Hence Irving
Kristols acerbic insight that when Americans sin,
we quickly forgive ourselves.
Do these confusions mean that American
Christians shouldnt be patriotic? Not in the least.
Indeed, an honest assessment of the considerable
abundance of common grace goods that the United
States enjoys might appropriately inspire a robust
love of our country. Not for nothing did Lincoln,
recognizing the uniqueness of the American exper-
iment, famously describe Americans as an almost
chosen people. Yet any biblical Christian will rec-
ognize that there is, quite literally, a world of differ-
ence between being almost chosen and being
chosen. The former may make good citizens on
earth; only the latter will be citizens of heaven.
It is right for all AmericansChristian and non-
Christianto recognize the supremacy of God
over the governing institutions that he ordains, the
divine source of our rights and freedoms, and that
all of us will be held to account for our actions. In
this sense, being a good American may sometimes
not conflict with being a good Christian. But
E
very four years, I get nervous as election day approach-
es. Inevitably, well-meaning ministers publicly
announce their endorsement of a presidential candi-
date and call on all professing Christians to elect (or
re-elect) the nominee. Church leaders on both right
and left confidently answer the same question (What
Would Jesus Do?) with different answers (re-elect Bush!, vote
Kerry!). Yet both camps are guilty of the same mistake confu-
sion over the two cities, collapsing of the two kingdoms, and a
conflating of the eternal (gospel) with the temporal (state).
While competing political interests have invoked divine bless-
ing on their policy agendas for millennia (Lincoln noted this
irony in his second inaugural address), I will address the unshake-
able belief of many American evangelicals that God is a
Republican and that Jesus would vote for GOP candidates. This
myth prompts a correlative question: can a Christian be a
Democrat? (a question which strikes many of us as odd as, say,
can a Christian be a Yankees fan?) As a Reformed, confession-
al evangelical and a Democrat I often get this question.
Afewinitial observations about the questions presuppositions:
first, its a sad irony that todays politically conservative evangeli-
cals commit similar errors (pitching a conservative political
gospel) as did the mainline churches (promoting a liberal social
gospel) in the 1960s. Both confused the distinct roles of the two
cities, and the believers dual citizenship in both. Second, equat-
ing a political partys platform with Gods purposes will inevitably
cheapen the gospel, inviting an inexorable slide toward civil reli-
gion and, ultimately, cultural Christianity. Third, purporting to
herald Trinitarian policy preferences is a tad presumptuous. Do
politically conservative evangelicals really believe they know
what position Jesus would take on policy issues like welfare
reform, global warming or Third World debt relief?
Nowto the question: while Scripture calls us to be exemplary cit-
izens within society, it neither mandates nor precludes membership
Can a Christian B
S E P T E MB E R / OCT O B E R 2 0 0 4 | MODE R N R E F OR MAT I O N 2 9
sometimes the two are wholly incommensurate.
What must be guarded against is making our penul-
timate loyaltyto countryinto our ultimate loy-
alty. Love of God and loyalty to his kingdom must
always be ultimate; anything else is idolatry.
If Gibbon identified the cynicism of the Roman
Empire toward revealed religion, it fell to Augustine
to identify the fragility of the Roman Empire in wor-
shiping itself. As his biographer Peter Brown notes,
committed to the fragile world [the Romans] had
created, they were forced to idealize it; they had to
deny any evil in its past, and the certainty of death
in its future. Even the most ancient of their histori-
ans, Sallust, had lied in praising the ancient days of
Rome. This was inevitable, for, as Augustine said,
poignantly, he had no other city to praise. I
William Inboden (Ph.D, Yale University) has worked in the
legislative and executive branches of the federal government.
He is currently finishing a book on religion and American for-
eign policy.
In this article, Dr. Inboden has cited Wilfred
McClay, The Soul of a Nation, The Public Interest,
Spring 2002; and Edward Gibbon, The Decline and
Fall of the Roman Empire, 3 vols. (New York: The
Modern Library, 1995), vol. 1, p. 22. The quotation
from John Winthrop is taken from A Model of
in, or support for, either political party. After all, America is not a
theocracy but a constitutional republic, and neither political party
speaks for God. The public policies they promote may be sound,
even just, but that doesnt make them Christian. Because neither
party has a corner on the truth, its as unwise for Republicans to seek
Gods stamp of approval for their pet issues (e.g., abortion, gay mar-
riage, school prayer) as it is for Democrats to do so for theirs (e.g.,
civil rights, social welfare, economic justice).
That is not to say our faith doesnt inform our public policy
prescriptions. It can and should. But it is not advisable to con-
struct a political Apostles Creed of core issues. Before labeling
a policy as Christian, evangelicals must remember that many
political debates are not ultimately about ends, but rather the best
means to achieve those shared ends. Reasonable Christians will
honestly disagree over which policies are the most prudent and
sensible. Even if it were possible to identify an issue in which the-
oretically all Christians should agree, Scripture will rarely, if ever,
answer the question as to which policy prescription temporal
authorities should pursue.
Thus, Christians can be Democrats for the same reason they can
be Republicans. Christ commanded us to render under Caesar,
which includes our thoughtful participation in the public square.
Both political parties promote policies which Christians can affirm,
and its our civic and biblical duty to work out our political involve-
ment withfear and trembling. ThoughLincolns theology was hard-
ly orthodox, it was biblical on this point: let us all prayfully consid-
er whether our positions are on Gods side, rather than the reverse.
Neil MacBride (J.D., University of Virginia School of Law), currently serves as
Minority Staff Director and Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee
Crime Subcommittee. He previously served as an Assistant United States
Attorney and campaign aide to several presidential and congressional campaigns.
Be a Yankees Fan?
b y NEI L H. MACBRI DE
Christian Charity, in Mark Noll and Roger Lundin,
eds., Voices from the Heart: Four Centuries of American Piety
(Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), pp. 46. Dr.
Inbodens quotation from Perry Miller is from
Errand into the Wilderness, in Jon Butler and
Harry Stout, eds., Religion in American History (New
York: Oxford University Press), p. 41. His citation
of the 1977 Continental Congress resolution is
quoted in James Hutson, Religion and the Founding of
the American Republic (Washington DC: Library of
Congress, 1998), p. 54. The observation from
Mark Noll is taken from The History of Christianity in
the United States and Canada (Grand Rapids, MI:
Eerdmans, 1992), p. 136. The anecdote of Edward
Elsons baptism of President Eisenhower is taken
from Wide Was His Parish (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale
House, 1986), pp. 115118. Eisenhowers com-
ment on religion is found in Patrick Henry, And I
Dont Care What It Is: The Tradition-History of a
Civil Religion Proof-Text, Journal of the American
Academy of Religion, vol. XLIX, no. 1, pp. 3549.
The quotations from Will Herberg are from
Herbergs Protestant, Catholic, Jew: An Essay in American
Religious Sociology (New York: Doubleday and
Company, 1955), pp. 3, 7784. Finally, the obser-
vations of Augustine were taken from Peter Browns
Augustine of Hippo: A Biography (Berkeley, CA:
University of California Press, 2000), p. 307.