I agree with you. I’d be much happier if there were a more Catholic notion of what it means to be a Christian in politics. But I have to say, I feel like an outsider to this portion of the debate. Your response has all the overtones of a sermon—repentance, admonition, exhortation—and I am not the intended audience. I am not a Christian, so the “we” you refer to does not include me.
So, instead of responding myself, I’m turning the stage over to a Patrick Henry graduate who, after reading our exchange, wrote me this most provocative e-mail:
I’ve gotta admit I’ve been a little bored with his constant love-peace-and-happiness-for-the-world mantra. Would have been a little spicier if you found someone that has more to say than, “Most of us evangelicals are just like you, Hanna, really! We like Bill & Hillary, too! We’re tolerant and loving just like you!” I mean, that may true, but it kind of misses the point of your book - that there are people out there who believe that the convictions that stem out of their faith have direct consequences in their jobs, votes, positions, and principles. As long as your faith is an ambiguous thing that’s determined by your culture and personality and the parts of the Bible that you like best—that’s fine with most liberals. But the moment your faith becomes grounded in a God that has revealed his opinions and principles in a document (the Bible) that people rally around, study, learn, and believe despite their personalities and personal convictions (which is the sort of “elite” evangelicals you hung around with at PHC)—you’re dealing with a united force with a relatively united voice. So if you believe that being open-minded, curious, and tolerant (which is obviously how David Kuo defines love) are the highest virtues—then that other crowd is pretty scary. So anyways, it’s been interesting and intriguing to think about. I always have to wonder which Bible those guys read—I mean, Jesus was no action hero, but he did rebuke and revolutionize the lifestyles of people in every sphere—from military officers, to prostitutes, to businessmen, to fisherman, to governors, to children. He preached radical change of people’s loyalties and demanded all-or-nothing of their opinions and alliangences. He was not very “loving” to most of the people he interacted with—if loving is defined as saying, “You can live how you want, and I’ll live how I want,” which is what Kuo seems to think—instead he was like, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” So, I think maybe Kuo should go back and read the Jesus stories again before he claims that Jesus is such a nice, tolerant guy. Jesus was lots of things, but “nice” and “tolerant” aren’t really ever vibes I picked up on.
Thanks for the debate. I’ll leave it to the Christians to sort out (and I’ll just stand by and take notes!).