Over at the Commonweal Yahoo discussion-group, its moderator John Borst has drawn attention to an interesting essay on post-Christendom politics as the UK prepares for a general election this year. With some mutatis mutandis, does this have any relevance to US discussions of religion and politics.
(A side-note: While the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, I think we should distinguish between “Christianity” and “Christendom.” The former refers to the religion as defined in terms of beliefs and practices, the latter to particular historical, social and cultural realizations of the religion, as, for example, when we refer to “medieval Christendom.” It is easy to become confused when reading historians writing in the Romance languages, e.g., French or Italian, where Christendom is chrétienté or cristianità and Christianity is christianisme or cristianesimo.)
The essay is by Jonathan Bartley, one of the co-directors of a web-forum called Ekklesia which has the following in its self-description:
Ekklesia is an independent, not-for-profit think-tank which examines the role of religion in public life and advocates transformative theological ideas and solutions.
A widely-referenced source of authoritative comment, policy ideas and news briefing on a range of contemporary issues related to religion and politics, Ekklesia has been listed among the UK’s top 20 think tanks by The Independent newspaper.
Ekklesia promotes post-Christendom approaches to social policy, nonviolence and conflict transformation, environmental action, the politics of forgiveness, economic sharing, support for migrants and displaced people, freedom of expression, restorative justice, a positive (relational) approach to sexuality, non-compulsion in religion and belief, the engagement of theology with science and culture, respectful engagement with those of other faith and non-religious convictions, and church as alternative community.