Celibacy as Political Resistance

From the January 2014 Print Edition

Just weeks before the 2012 election, in a discussion held in the gymnasium of a small Midwestern Catholic college, the college’s president asked everyone to stand, turned to the large American flag hanging from the rafters, and asked the crowd to recite the Pledge of Allegiance with him. For him, such a gesture seemed the natural or obvious thing to do. But will, or, more importantly, should the next generation of Christian leaders share the same zeal to affirm American civil religion?In increasing numbers, American Christians have come to realize that the ethos and ends of the American government often undermine Christianity and its institutions. Like other Western, secular states, the United States now seems antagonistic to religious institutions, threatening their capacity to form their members and to engage in the practices they need to grow and flourish. It seems more plausible now than in the recent past that Church and state will be locked in a long struggle.Christians, however, have too often failed to recognize that we’re frequently swayed by the deep, romantic national identity that America fosters so well in its citizens. It and not the Church often sets the agenda. The calls for religious freedom very quickly focus on the rights of conscience, reinforcing an individualism that downplays the importance of the freedom of the Church to occupy public space on her own terms. Continue Reading »

An Interview with René Girard

From Web Exclusives

René Girard is one of the most important Christian intellectuals of our time. Beginning with the publication of Deceit, Desire, and the Novel (1961), Girard’s thought began making waves in a number of disciplines. His first work impacted literary criticism with a basic and revolutionary . . . . Continue Reading »