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June 17, 2005

Why Won’t the Christians Play Nice?

Former Senator John Danforth, now an Episcopal minister, boils down the Christian relationship with the state to an expression of the “Love Commandment,” in an op-ed today in the Times.

But the lovefest Danforth prescribed for moderate Christian is one where we don’t advance meaningful public positions on issues such as the Terri Schiavo case, embryonic stem cell research, and homosexual marriage.

He writes:

When, on television, we see a person in a persistent vegetative state, one who will never recover, we believe that allowing the natural and merciful end to her ordeal is more loving than imposing government power to keep her hooked up to a feeding tube. When we see an opportunity to save our neighbors' lives through stem cell research, we believe that it is our duty to pursue that research, and to oppose legislation that would impede us from doing so.

We think that efforts to haul references of God into the public square, into schools and courthouses, are far more apt to divide Americans than to advance faith.

Following a Lord who reached out in compassion to all human beings, we oppose amending the Constitution in a way that would humiliate homosexuals.

For us, living the Love Commandment may be at odds with efforts to encapsulate Christianity in a political agenda. We strongly support the separation of church and state, both because that principle is essential to holding together a diverse country, and because the policies of the state always fall short of the demands of faith. Aware that even our most passionate ventures into politics are efforts to carry the treasure of religion in the earthen vessel of government, we proceed in a spirit of humility lacking in our conservative colleagues.

There’s a great need for more humility in Washington, no doubt. But a love for God is empty if it does not include applying His truth to all areas of life. And loving one’s neighbor cannot be interpreted as capitulating on seminal issues of life and the foundations of family.

Posted by Jim at June 17, 2005 08:10 AM

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