Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Linker on evangelical idolatry and purism

Damon Linker indulges himself in a long book review, in which he joins the author in criticizing conservative evangelicals for their overfond embrace of George W. Bush’s America but parts company with him on the apparently all-too-Augustinian (I’d almost say Hauerwasian) standpoint from which he makes the criticism. There’s a certain sobriety in Linker’s argument, but it’s available to Augustinian evangelicals (and, I hasten to argue, Catholics) as well as to the theological liberals and secularists with whom he now keeps company.

Discussions - 6 Comments

Loyalty is the currency of politics. Without it, we don't stand a chance.

What would they say to Hegel, or to the charge that idolatry is a universal charge for the simple reason that the abstract purism is never in existance? What would they say to Hegel on many fronts? Wasn't it Hegel who identified divinity and worldly power?

And contrast this statements:

"For a devout Christian, then, patriotism can never be uncomplicated, never wholehearted. It will always be to some extent ironic, mitigated, partial--an unstable alloy of divine love and human selfishness."

With this charge: "It is not all of America, or even most of America, that these godly patriots love."

Notice that this is a fair juxtaposition...the first comment is the ideal christian according to Linker according to Marsh...the second charge is that the evangelicals don't have a non-mitigated patriotism...but how can Marsh hold the godly patriots accountable for not loving all or most of America if this is precisely what he advocates?

I suppose Marsh would say that the evangelical right mitigates patriotism on the basis of partisanship, while he does so on the basis of a deep commitment to scripture.

Wow! Maybe Mash has figured out that proffesional theologians have a deeper interest in "pure" christianity than typical christians... Jeez, how many medical doctors speak out against smoking and how many americans still smoke? How does Mash get away with peddling a disconnect between expert opinion and the typical behavior of the typical person who self-identifies with a view, when such a disconnect seems more likely to be the result of the understanding of the thing itself, that should itself contrain the conclusions one could draw from self-identification. At least Linker is kind enough to state the tension: "Marsh quotes, to great effect, twenty-five of these critical statements, written by the leaders of Christian organizations...most of which the majority of American evangelicals have undoubtedly never seen or read."

What is Linker's statement of faith? Does he still consider himself a theological conservative (assuming he once did), or is he now a theological liberal as well? In my experience, these things travel in a pack.

There's evidence in this article, and in other places, that he has become a secularist, though not of the Sam Harris sort. He still kinda likes theological liberals, it seems.

"still kinda likes theological liberals." And well he might. Theological liberals are very useful indeed from a left-wing standpoint. They cut down a little on the smell.

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