For the posts, please see:
The latest issue of the Journal Perspectives on Political Science (Vol. 46, 2017, nr. 1) contains a symposium on Christian Democracy and America.
The abstract of the introduction to the symposium, authored by Hunter Baker, reads as follows:
‘The confluence of the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision on gay marriage and the unusual nature of the 2016 U.S. presidential election presents American Christians with significant political questions. Obergefell’s elevation of gay marriage to the status of a constitutional civil right put U.S. law and Christian orthodoxy at loggerheads, thereby raising serious issues with regard to the continued ability of religious organizations to participate in the not-for-profit sector and in higher education. At the same time, the nationalistic turn of the the Republican party under Donald Trump generated dissonance with Christian views of human solidarity. The new situation seems to shift the landscape of American politics and raises the possibility of new alternatives. Contributors to this symposium were asked to evaluate the prospects for an Americanized version of European Christian Democracy. While they generated a diversity of opinion about Christian Democracy, the group pragmatically recognized the many obstacles in place. Some argued against the idea because of reservations about associating the Christian faith with the coerciveness of law. Others noted the proven virtues of such parties in Europe. This article interacts with the different responses and makes a case for why Christian Democracy might have a brighter future in the U.S. than many believe. The primary reason is that Christian Democracy emerged in response to aggressive secularism in Europe’s past that may only be reaching similar levels in the U.S. today. Therefore, a new political movement with similarities to Christian Democracy might make sense in the American context.’
See for more information on the symposium: Symposium on Christian Democracy in America.
A central tenet of my forthcoming book is that both the questions surrounding the right to freedom of religion or belief and those surrounding constitutionalism and democracy can generally best be addressed by seeking guidance from the theory of social pluralism. At least three views of social pluralism can be distinguished: what could be called an argument from history (Edmund Burke, Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer, Otto von Gierke, John Neville Figgis); the recent Catholic tradition (Pope Leo XIII, Pope Pius XI, Jacques Maritain, Bishops of the Second Vatican Council); and progressive Calvinism (Abraham Kuyper, Herman Dooyeweerd, H. Evan Runner, Bernard J. Zylstra).
This is the fourth post in a new series introducing my forthcoming book on Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To be Fully Human (Routledge, 2017).
For the first three posts, please see:
About the Conference:
‘The Paul Henry Institute will host the second national conference of Christians in Political Science, June 17-20, 1999. Christian political scientists from the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, and Australia have already registered to attend the event. More than twenty different panels, each addressing different thematic issues, have been organized, with more than sixty papers being given by different scholars in the field. On Friday, June 18, the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus will deliver an address that will be open to the public.’
About the Henry Institute:
‘The Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics was created in 1997 to continue the work of integrating Christian faith and politics advanced by its namesake, educator and public servant Paul B. Henry.
The Institute is dedicated to providing resources for scholarship, encouraging citizen involvement and education, structuring opportunities to disseminate scholarly work, seeking avenues to communicate and promote information about Christianity and public life to the broader public, and motivating and training future scholars and leaders.’
About Christians in Political Science:
‘Christians in Political Science aims to encourage students of politics to integrate their Christian faith into their research and writing; stimulate and assist members to bring insights and perspectives from their faith to classroom teaching; and provide a forum for fellowship. We recognize that Christians of good faith may disagree about how Christianity should inform our professional, political, and other activities. Indeed, a major goal of CPS is to encourage discussion of these matters among believers from different traditions and with divergent views.’
My own presentation was entitled ‘The Fall of Christian Democracy in Europe’.
On the Encyclopedia:
‘The Encyclopedia of Political Thought is the most comprehensive and rigorous treatment of significant political thinkers, political theories, concepts, ideas, and schools of thought.
* Examines the history of political thought from antiquity to contemporary political theory and political philosophy
* Reflects diverse traditions in the evolution of political theory and political science
* Addresses the theorists, their key theories and methods from within the western canon and from non-western perspectives
* Offers over 900 entries including shorter definitions and biographies as well as extended treatments of major topics from over 700 contributors from around the world.
* Published in association with The Foundations of Political Theory, an organized section of the American Political Science Association
* Available as an online platform or as an eight volume print set.’
Abstract of the entry:
‘The origins of Christian democracy as an international political movement go back to the second half of the nineteenth century, when a number of (predominantly) Catholic confessional parties were founded in Europe. Generally speaking, these parties were opposed to liberal democracy as it had developed until then. Later on, in particular the tradition of modern Catholic social teaching, with the encyclicals Rerum Novarum (1891) and Quadragesimo Anno (1931) as milestones, has been an ideological influence. Yet, by organizing themselves into confessional parties, lay Catholics paradoxically also succeeded in achieving increasing independence vis-à-vis their church.’
See for more information: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9781118474396.wbept0139/abstract.
Participating in a workshop on ‘Christian Democratic Ideology and Programmatic Development, 1945-2000’ at the KU Leuven. The workshop is organized by Civitas, a newly formed Forum of Archives and Research on Christian Democracy.
My own paper is entitled ‘Creed or Structure? Christian Democratic Vision and Attitudes towards Liberal Democracy’.
The abstract of the paper reads as follows:
‘The current paper asks the question to what extent one can (still) speak of a Christian Democratic ideology and identity and a distinct political programme, also with respect to liberal democracy. It defines liberal democracy for this purpose as comprising the basic principles of individual rights and government by consent of the people.
In so far as it will conclude that Christian Democracy has come to accept modern liberal democracy wholeheartedly, the paper will critically reflect on this ideological and programmatic development. It will be argued that the pressing question is whether, and to what extent, Christian Democracy and modern liberal democracy are indeed as compatible as the ideological and programmatic developments in Christian Democratic parties between 1945 and 2000 seem to suggest.
For this purpose, the paper considers Confucian constitutionalism, the book Christian Faith and Modern Democracy and finally the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church as contrasts.’
For more information on Civitas, and the workshop, see http://civitas-farcd.eu/events/upcoming.
For reports on the workshop, see http://civitas-farcd.eu/events/reports/report_ws_2013_11; https://kadoc.kuleuven.be/pdf/nieuwsbrief/nb_2014/nb_2014_01.pdf.
In order to understand how Christian Democracy in the Netherlands came into existence, this Canon takes the mid-nineteenth century as a starting point. An important date is the publication in 1847 of the book Ongeloof en Revolutie (Unbelief and Revolution) by Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer in which he let his religious beliefs permeate politics. To many, the legacy of Christian Democracy in the Netherlands can be traced back to Groen.
In the 39 lemmata that follow this political movement is outlined in more detail. Important milestones include the founding of the CDA (1980) and that of its predecessors ARP (1879), CHU (1908) and KVP (1945). More colour has been added to the Canon by the inclusion of other significant events such as the establishment of the Dutch ‘equipe’ in Europe, and cabinets with a confessional character and confessional members. Attention is also devoted to policy issues such as ethical colonial politics, development cooperation and the new health care system in which Christian Democracy played a significant role.
The Canon also pauses to look at reports that were a determining factor for Christian Democracy, such as Grondslag en karakter (1966) (Fundamentals and Character) and Nieuwe wegen, vaste waarden (1995) (New roads, firm values). The Canon concludes with the formation conference of October 2010.
The Canon was edited by Raymond Gradus (Director of the Research Institute of the CDA), George Harinck (Professor of History at the VU University Amsterdam), Alexander van Kessel (researcher at the Centre for Parliamentary History) and myself, among others. A reading committee, consisting of Carla van Baalen (Professor of Parliamentary History at Radboud University Nijmegen), Arie Oostlander (former director of the Research Institute of the CDA) and Gerrit Voerman (Professor in Development and Functioning of the Dutch and European political party systems at Groningen University), read through the draft and provided expert commentary on its content.
The English language version of the Canon, of which only a limited number of copies is available, can be ordered for the amount of 20 Euro (excluding shipping costs) by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.