Is “Christian Democracy” Possible in the U.S.?

The Guardian: “Christian democracy, a political ideology embodied by figures like Germany’s Angela Merkel, contributed to establishing stable democracies in Europe in the aftermath of the second world war. The US was often deeply supportive of this process, yet never cultivated an analogous political movement at home. Now that it is facing a serious institutional threat of its own, it can perhaps learn from what it has long preached abroad.

The role of Christian democratic parties and agents in the creation of the United Nations, the European Union and the international human rights regime was decisive.

Well, maybe. But finding “a better alternative” won’t be easy.

Still, there’s plenty  of wisdom here. American evangelical Christianity COULD in theory move way from the current regime, which mocks almost every aspect of its core.

But I see four BIG hazards that will need to be overcome on the way to becoming a better option:

1. The Mormon hegemony. While most evangelicals supposedly condemn Mormonism as a “cult,” it has become a major power center in their political world (cf. Mitt Romney), one which is organized behind a solidly reactionary social-economic agenda, and it will not yield the floor easily.

2. Christian Zionism: a tenacious, well-funded crusade, with a wide following, firmly allied with most of the most dangerous & reactionary elements of the Israeli government, and panting for its chance to bring on Armageddon.

Christian Zionism

 3. “Christian Dominionism.” These are the cadres who firmly believe that their sort should rule like Old Testament Kings, enforcing the most brutal Old Testament strictures (i. e., death to LGBTs & others). Roy Moore is their kind of guy.

And last but hardly least—

4. Racism. Sure, racism is everywhere in American religion. But major chunks of evangelicalism  long ago abandoned its initial reformist notions and retreated into a segregated nativist ghetto, which made it the seedbed for the second rising of the Ku Klux Klan, the host for many less well-known pillars of Jim Crow, the key to the GOP’s “Southern Strategy,” and now shelter the most loyal legions of the 45 regime. A few voices are crying out in that wilderness, but they are still lonely & mostly scorned.

I’m no expert on how their European counterparts overcame their own obstacles, which were the opposite of trivial, but for two generations they’ve done well enough to produce leaders of the caliber of Angela Merkel. Yet Merkel’s hold is slipping there, and the alternatives look grim. 

Considering the state of American evangelicalism in 2018, it’s hard to imagine this movement evolving and spawning a resurgence of humane “Christian Democracy” here, or shoring up its beleaguered outposts across the Atlantic.

Germany’s Angela Merkel: the last Christian Democratic leader standing in Europe?

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