Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Faith and Politics Inseparable

As the president of Georgetown’s Christianity in Politics Club, I read Charles Mackel’s opinion piece, “Reasoning With Faith and Politics” (THE HOYA, Sept. 13, 2005, A3), with great interest. In the article, Mackel cites some of the worst Christian-perpetrated atrocities in history as examples of “the injection of Christianity into politics.” While those were certainly shameful times in Christianity’s history, to claim that those instances represent the fullness of Christian political behavior is ignorant at best. Indeed, this claim seems bitterly hostile, especially in light of the article’s overall tone.

In truth, there is no “injection” of Christianity into politics. The word “injection” implies that politics was once fully separate from Christianity; if society could only keep politics apart from Christianity’s corrupting influence, society would be better off. Yet, by definition, politics does not exist in a vacuum, but in a web of human thought evolving in concert with religious faith. Political opinions have always been a function of deeply held beliefs, and Christianity has molded these beliefs from its founding, often with good results. In fact, many modern political views on justice, war, poverty, ethics and other important issues come not from objective reasoning, but from several world religions – including Christianity.

Yes, Christianity is an important individual choice, but any interpretation of the New Testament demands more: that Christians actively work to make our society more just, more loving, more peaceful and more righteous. Christians disagree widely about how to accomplish these goals. Some Christians want to use the government to achieve some of them, some of the time. Others favor alternate means for changing our society. Either way, this is Christianity and politics: the struggle to move society closer to where our faith tells us it should be.

Our faith commands us not to sit on the sidelines, but to translate our individual and corporate beliefs into social action, be it in our neighborhood or our nation. To “do away with Christianity in the political sphere,” as Mackel advocates, would therefore be to do away with Christianity.

Mackel is right to ask, “Where, exactly, does Christianity fit into America?” That’s the question our club explores every time we listen to a speaker or discuss a film. We’ve heard from Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, Catholics and Protestants. Every speaker and every club member has a different opinion, and we don’t expect that we’ll ever be able to define “exactly” where our faith fits into politics. But we are united in our deep desire to make our Christianity, in its various flavors, relevant to our lives and to our societies. The day we stop asking ourselves how to do that will be the day we are no longer Christians.

James Kotecki is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service and is president of GU Christianity in Politics.

Donate to The Hoya

Your donation will support the student journalists of Georgetown University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Hoya