At the core of Christian social teaching- on sex, on economics, on justice, on poverty- is a theory of solidarity with all men- particularly with the weakest and the marginalized who have no one to turn to. Yes we have personal relationships with Christ, sin is an individual action and we are judged as separate persons. However, Christianity is fundamentally a communitarian faith: with the support of the family and the Church, we come together as parts of a body in pursuit of Christ.
Individualism, however, destroys this body. Its isolationism and self-interest sends a message that the individual’s actions do not concern anyone else, and furthermore, that the individual has few-if any- obligations to others. The apologists for modernism preach that so long as one does not directly and significantly impede the ability of others to pursue their own desires, nearly all things are permissible- even at the expense of the community. This divorce of man from community reduces morality to the pursuit of one’s personal pleasure, rather than what is good, and transforms politics into a tool for supporting individual prerogatives. In short: individualism breeds moral relativism and gives public license to nearly all self-centered initiatives.
Gone is an idea that Christ is the vine, and we are the branches; annihilated is the idea that we grow in our own ways and towards our own goals, but we fundamentally are part of the same body. Instead, this view creates a society of princes, lording over their own self-designed kingdom – and anyone who suggests otherwise is a tyrant seeking to impose himself upon others.
It is this rhetoric and set of assumptions that underlies the core of the both the Republican and Democratic Party platforms today, and, as hinted by R. Reno in First Things, if this message does not change, then it will undermine the conservative philosophy that it masquerades as, not to mention orthodox Christian beliefs.
Monday, December 3, 2012
IRD: Christianity and the liberal right
Pursuing spiritual ends through secular means is never wise. This is true perhaps now more than ever, as the IRD's Addie Darling observes.