America has always been more religiously devout than other Western democracies. But now, like them, it has begun to secularize rapidly. And, as religion has declined, political ideology has intensified, society has fragmented, and cultural common ground has disintegrated. As a result, politics is increasingly divisive and existentially fraught.
For over three decades, debates about politics and about what it means to be American have been undertaken with a sweated anxiety and with the zeal of a religious fundamentalist.
Make no mistake: politics is inherently religious. As the great bishop, Augustine of Hippo averred, deeply felt political conviction should be understood as redirected religion. Similarly, over a century ago, Dutch theologian and prime minister Abraham Kuyper sought throughout his career to show that ideologies are essentially faith-based.
That faith and politics are inherently conjoined is not all bad….
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