Religion, Money, & Politics…Things we are not supposed to talk about. Except, every two years there is some kind of election which raises the specter of the possibility of finding out that someone you care about thinks differently than you do. Add religion to that conversation and it could be combustible. Since I am religious (Christian) I will often here quips like, “well…you can’t legislate your morality.” I think that sayings like this are the residue of secularism. It is aimed at religious people to make sure that Thomas Jefferson’s famous “wall of separation” remains firmly in tact & to protect the public square from “religious influence.” Because religious influence will be bad.
In the book I am trying to say a few things: The first thing is that I think that “secularism” as an overarching philosophy may be dying. People are remarkably and resiliently spiritual. It was a somewhat vacant ideology anyway based on a promissory note of time. Just give us “non-religious” people enough time to figure out how to solve all the “wicked problems” and religion will fade into the sunset. The second thing that I think is that postmodernity might be dying a natural death. It was a deconstructive project and you can only deconstruct for so long…then you have to start putting things back together into a coherent whole. So I think that there is an opportunity right now to talk about the intersection of religion and politics and renegotiate their relationship in our American context.
I wanted the posture of the book to be hopeful; which seems counter-intuitive given our current political climate. But hope is one of the cardinal virtues of the Christian faith: “Now these three remain: faith, hope, love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor 13.13).