Magazine article The Christian Century

Democratic Virtues

Magazine article The Christian Century

Democratic Virtues

Article excerpt

THIS MAGAZINE has long straddled the world of religion and politics, convinced that political awareness and engagement are part of faithful Christian living. We do so knowing full well that this territory is highly contested. One of the ways we gauge success is by whether we get criticism from different ends of the political spectrum. That happens a lot. The right is often convinced that we are a mouthpiece for the old left. The left takes us to task for being far too soft on a range of issues.

In this issue editor-at-large Robin Lovin surveys some of the liveliest current arguments on the place of religion in democratic society and on the role particular religious commitments play in a pluralistic society. The prominent figures in the conversation are Jeffrey Stout, Stanley Hauerwas, Alasdair MacIntyre and Richard Rorty.

I'm intrigued by Stout's vision of a secular democracy--how can there be any other kind, given our radical diversity?--as "a plurality of communities of virtue that engage with one another to order the common life." I think he's right in suggesting that the challenge before us is to live with different and in some way competing visions of what a "good society" is.

This issue will be before us in a major way in the next six months. …

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