Politics and Public Life

An Evangelical Guide to Populism (5) Populism and Political Power

If economic frustration is the shared experience that catalyzes populist movements, and if questions of identity form the underlying concern, then questions of rule provide the context for why questions about identity are so powerful. In response to the question, “Who should rule?” populism provides a clear answer: “The people.” On the face of it, [ Read More ]

An Evangelical Guide to Populism (4): Populism, Ethnicity, and Cultural Identity

Despite the attention given to economic frustrations, today’s American populism is as much or more about culture and identity. Populist wrath toward corporate and political power-brokers often stems from cultural disorientation, dislocation, and tension. And for some populists, it stems from prejudice toward people who are ethnically or culturally different. Whereas economic frustrations highlight the [ Read More ]

An Evangelical Guide to Populism (3): Populism and Economics

It should be unsurprising that economic considerations play a significant role in today’s American populism. Historically, populist movements world-wide have arisen most frequently as a response to economic frustrations. Consider the “populare” politicians of ancient Rome. As historian Barry Strauss notes, the populares were a series of Roman politicians—such as Tiberius Gracchus, Gaius, Gracchus, Saturninus, [ Read More ]

Immigration: Was A.G. Sessions Right to Quote the Bible in Defense of Family Separation?

In response to the widespread outcry against immigration policy that separates parents from their children at the U.S.-Mexico border, Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the policy by stating that it is consistent with the Bible’s teaching. In a speech to law enforcement officers Thursday in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Sessions stated: Persons who violate the law [ Read More ]

A Theological Sickness unto Death: Philip Rieff’s Prophetic Analysis of our Secular Age

The great American sociologist Philip Rieff (1922–2006) stands as one of the 20th century’s keenest intellectuals and cultural commentators. Rieff did sociology on a grand scale—sociology as prophecy—diagnosing the ills of Western society and offering a prognosis and prescription for the future. Although he was not a Christian, his work remains a great gift—even if [ Read More ]

Liberalism Failed Because It Collapsed Under Its Own Weight

A liberal believes in liberty, right? Well, of course. It’s there in the name. But what if the liberal quest to expand our liberty is actually eroding our liberties? That’s the argument Patrick J. Deneen—associate professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame—makes in Why Liberalism Failed, a persuasive contribution to the ongoing political [ Read More ]

Should Christians Identify with the Democratic or Republican Political Parties?

Given the increased polarization of American politics and public life, the question is frequently raised as to whether Christians should identify themselves with either major political party or—by association—the political ideologies undergirding them. I answer that it is permissible and often wise to participate in party politics, but we must be circumspect in doing so, [ Read More ]