The United States has a two-party system, and both parties seem to be cracking up. Most of the other democratic countries of the world have a parliamentary system, with lots of parties. They then must form coalitions to elect a Prime Minister. One of the prominent parties in Europe and Latin America is the Christian Democratic Party. (Germany’s prime minister Angela Merkel is a Christian Democrat.)
After the jump, Father Dwight Longenecker lays out the political ideology of Christian Democracy. Read what he says, following the link, and then consider my questions.
Maybe in the aftermath of a Trump or Clinton presidency Christians of all denominations and from both political parties could rally to a new banner. Christian Democracy parties are influential across Europe and Latin America. Inspired by Catholic social teaching, the Christian Democracy parties are right of center on social and cultural issues and left of center on economic and justice issues.
Christian Democracy parties support the traditional family and the sanctity of life, but are not legalistic and reactionary. In other words, the Christian Democratic Party works positively to support life and uphold traditional family while not penalizing those who disagree. The Christian Democrat supports the family not simply by being opposed to same-sex marriage, but also by being opposed to quick, no-fault divorce. Christian Democrats work to put positive legislation in place that orients the whole economic and social system towards the family as the core unity of society.Christian Democracy would be pro-life, but in more ways than by simply opposing abortion. They would also seek to mitigate the underlying causes of unwanted pregnancies—pornography, promiscuity, prostitution, poverty and broken families. When it comes to opposing abortion, Christian Democrats would be realistic. Realizing the unlikelihood of repealing abortion laws immediately, they would work positively to restrict abortion and to promote adoption and support for single mothers and those in poverty, while working to eradicate abortion in the long term.
Christian Democracy is in favor of a social market economy. Rejecting communism and enforced socialism, it is in favor of common-sense government regulations and state welfare that recognizes the innate dignity of the individual and works to assist individuals and families to be independent, hard working members of society. Christian Democracy sees a moderate welfare state as the public expression of every citizen’s responsibility for his poor brother or sister.
Rooted in Catholic social teaching of the nineteenth century, Christian Democracy parties have been successful in Europe and Latin America in blending the strengths of the liberal, socialistic and conservative movements. Built on the two principles of solidarity and subsidiarity, the Christian Democracy movement seeks to bring common sense Catholic principles into the public square. In the United States, however, the movement has gained little traction due to the powerful and polarizing Democratic and Republican parties. If those two extremist positions are now failing, the time has come for a third way to emerge.
This would work with Roman Catholicism, but would it also work with other theologies? For example, would it conflict Lutheran Two Kingdoms theology? Is it any different, in principle, than other attempts to politicize Christianity, such as America’s Christian right?