George Weigel makes a case here that now is the time for a robust and uncompromising form of Catholicism to stand up and be counted in America.
As for the opportunity embedded in this crisis, it is nothing less than to be the Church of the New Evangelization, full-throttle. Shallow, tribal, institutional-maintenance Catholicism is utterly incapable of meeting the challenges that will now come at the Catholic Church from the most aggressively secular administration in American history. Only a robustly, unapologetically evangelical Catholicism, winsomely proposing and nobly living the truths about the human condition the Church teaches, will see us through the next four years. Radically converted Christian disciples, not one-hour-a-week Catholics whipsawed by an ever more toxic culture, are what this hour of crisis, in both senses of the term, demands.
In the meantime, this article charts the decline of the Evangelical right wing political pressure groups. What interested me most was this observation:
While white evangelicals comprised a quarter of the electorate, other religious groups that lean Democratic have grown substantially. Hispanic-American Catholics, African-American Protestants, and Jewish-Americans voted Democratic in overwhelming numbers. Additionally, the “nones” — those who claim no religious affiliation — are now the fastest growing “religious” group, comprising one-fifth of the population and a third of adults under 30. Seven out of 10 “nones” voted for Obama.
Let’s analyze further and look at the make up of the new Evangelical movement. The surge in American Evangelicalism is among the so-called mega churches. These churches are famous for their being cool and laid back. They’re tolerant in moral matters in a way their parents and grandparents were not. Divorce and re-marriage? God is loving and forgiving and so are we. Co-habitation and homosexuality? Don’t ask, don’t tell. Contraception? No problem. Abortion? Sometimes difficult decisions have to be taken.
In addition to their increasingly soft stance on personal morality they are also shifting their attention away from political activism to practical pastoral activism. That is to say, they are less concerned with being the ‘moral majority’ than they are with laying on workshops on parenting, family budget, addiction problems and marriage counseling. They’re more about Dave Ramsay and communications seminars than radical Christianity. Furthermore, the new Evangelicals–when they are politically involved, are more likely to lean left. They’re concerned with global financial issues, justice and peace and environmental issues the way their parents and grandparents were not.
We have a divided Christian community in America, and the divide is along party lines: Democrats seeming to be for aid to the poor, assistance for the needy, renewal of the environment and justice for the oppressed. Republicans seeming to be for independent responsibility, the traditional family, conservative sexual morality and pro life causes.
George Weigel often slants his concerns towards a right wing solution. Today he suggests the real solution is neither right wing nor left wing, neither Democratic or Republican but robustly Catholic. Evangelicals and Catholics need to come together to offer America a new solution–one that does it all: encourages independent responsibility, defends human life, supports a preferential option for the poor, defends the worker, fights for justice and also uphold the traditional family, sexual decency and the proper stewardship of our natural resources.
Why is this so hard? Why does any suggestion of a third way in politics have to be the voice of one crying in the wilderness?