Guest / Limited Access /

Christians' retreat from American politics would be a mistake, argues Michael Gerson, against those who prefer more behind-the-scenes forms of cultural engagement. As President George W. Bush's speechwriter for five years, and now as senior research fellow at the Institute for Global Engagement, Gerson has seen first-hand how policy has tangible cultural effects. Gerson recently co-authored City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era (Moody) with Peter Wehner and began a one-year fellowship with the ONE Campaign, the Bono-backed nonprofit devoted to funding international aid programs. Gerson will be working on the campaign's religious and conservative coalition on development, disease, and trade issues. "I am not, however, in charge of distributing U2 tickets," he says.

Gerson spoke with CT online editor Sarah Pulliam Bailey about why Christians should remain vigorously engaged in the political sphere.

You gently critique the Religious Right, saying, "The biggest problem with the Religious Right has not been tonal or strategic but rather theological." Could you flesh that out? How might Christians approach politics differently?

We are in a moment of transition. There's a discontent with an older model of social engagement. One reason is tonal. The Religious Right reacted to the aggressions of modernity, to the impression that leading institutions were imposing an alien vision on American society. Its fundraising appeals presented politics through the prism of a bitter divide. It was the children of light against the children of darkness.

Another element is political and strategic. Because it brought many moral concerns to public life, the Religious Right became an appendage of another political ideology: the Republican Party. ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedMy Weird Childhood Faith Isn’t So Weird Anymore
My Weird Childhood Faith Isn’t So Weird Anymore
Witnessing Christianity’s shift over the charismatic church.
Trending‘My Pastor Is on the Ashley Madison List.’
‘My Pastor Is on the Ashley Madison List.’
Too many Christians have been caught using Ashley Madison, many of them pastors and church leaders. What now?
Editor's PickThe World’s Most Astonished Atheist
The World’s Most Astonished Atheist
The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki destroyed Joy Davidman’s worldview, too.
Comments
%%var.bookTitle%%
City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era
Moody Publishers
2010-10-01
144 pp., $15.68
Buy %%var.bookTitle%% from Amazon
Christianity Today
Faithfully and Politically Present
hide thisNovember November

In the Magazine

November 2010

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.