In the past, Christianity has had both positive and negative influences on democracy. Christian churches have served as benevolent agents of welfare and catalysts of political reform. But they have also served as belligerent allies of repression and censors of human rights. Christian theology has helped to cultivate democratic ideas of equality, liberty, and responsibility. But it has also helped to perpetuate repressive ideas of statism, elitism, and chauvinism. In the future, Christian attitudes and actions concerning democracy will face a formidable challenge—both from inside and outside of the Christian community. From inside, new liberation and ecumenical movements will continue to challenge Christianity to lend greater aid to the poor and the oppressed and greater support to the cause of political reform and renewal. From outside, the coüapse of socialist ideologies, the emergence of Islam, and the growing secularization of the West will challenge Christianity to develop a more coherent and consistent teaching on democratic law and politics. This collection brings together leading politicians, clerics, and academics of a variety of political positions and Christian persuasions to debate what Christianity has contributed in the past and what it should contribute in the future to the shape of democratic government around the world. It is a crucial contribution to current thought on religion and politics.
Table of Contents
Foreword -- Introduction -- Catholicism and Democracy: Conflict, Change, and Collaboration -- Christianity and Democracy in Europe -- Christianity and Democracy in Europe: The Christian Democratic Movement -- “In Common Together”: Christianity and Democracy in America -- Toward a Contemporary Christian Democratic Politics in the United States -- A New Order of Religious Freedom -- A Feminist Perspective: Christianity, Democracy, and Feminist Theology -- The Promise of Democracy: Theological Reflections on Universality and Liminality -- Christianity and the Spanish Conquest of the Americas -- Democracy and Christianity in Latin America -- Christian Democracy, Liberation Theology, the Catholic Right, and Democracy in Latin America -- Unmasking the Powers: Christianity, Authority, and Desacralization in Modern African Politics -- The Christian Churches and Democracy in Contemporary Africa -- From Revolution to Reconstruction: The South Africa Imperative -- An African Christian in Search of Democracy -- The Challenge of Christianity and Democracy in the Soviet Union -- Is Christianity a Help or Hindrance to Indian Democracy? -- Postscript: To Be Human Is To Be Free