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Should Christians Be Involved in Politics?

Think Christianly: Should Christians Be Involved in Politics?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Should Christians Be Involved in Politics?

Religion is controversial. Politics is controversial. Put them together and you have something down right explosive on your hands. Handle with care. But does that mean that Christians should not be engaged in politics? Not at all. Are Christians perceived by many as too political? Without a doubt and sometimes for good reason.

So what should we do? Lots of things. But one thing for sure is recover a sense of "prudence in the public square." And there is a new book, Politics for the Greatest Good that lays out the conceptual framework to do just that:

Product Description
With a level-headed voice, leading policy strategist Clarke Forsythe speaks clearly into the fray of political striving. Here he campaigns for a recovery of a rich understanding of the virtue of prudence, and for its application by policymakers and citizens to contemporary public policy.

As Forsythe explains, prudence, in its classical sense, is the ability to apply wisdom to right action. In this book he explores the importance of applying the principles of prudence--taking account of limitations in a world of constraints and striving to achieve the greatest measure of justice under current circumstances--to the realm of politics, especially that of bioethics.

In particular, Forsythe applies these concepts to the ongoing debate among pro-life advocates regarding gradual versus radical change as the most effective way to achieve political and legislative goals. Drawing on the Bible, philosophy, and the wisdom of historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln and William Wilberforce, he makes a strong case for a strategy of seeking to achieve the maximal change possible at a given time--or political prudence. As such, it has broad implications for political scientists and strategists both within and beyond the pro-life context.

"Clarke Forsythe has written an incisive, admirably balanced analysis of the situation in which Christians now find themselves in the public square. It should serve as an authoritative guide for a long time." --James Hitchcock, professor of history, St. Louis University

"Prudence, especially in the context of politics and the struggle for social reform, is a poorly understood, largely neglected and desperately needed virtue. We have long needed an intellectually coherent and compelling treatment of the subject. Happily, Clarke Forsythe has met the need. Drawing on the wisdom of Aristotle, Wilberforce, Lincoln, and other theorists and practitioners of political prudence, Forsythe has written a book that will both instruct and inspire all who work to protect the weak and vulnerable and to advance the cause of justice." --Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, and director of theJames Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University

"While we eagerly await the promised kingdom of God, here on earth we strive for the better that is far short of the best. This book is both a guide and an encouragement for faithful strivers." --The late Richard John Neuhaus, editor-in-chief, First Things

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