Acton Institute Powerblog

The Unity of Faith and Politics, More or Less

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The legitimization of so-called same-sex marriage in Spanish law has not surprisingly elicited a strong response from Christians around the world. This particular disagreement is often cast by proponents of change as a matter of Religion trying to encroach on Politics. However, I always flinch when the Church/State dichotmy is used to suggest that we can exist in one of these realms individually and absolutely, as if neither realm influences the other. On this topic, Rocco Buttliglione notes a particular point of unity between State and Religion: the person.

“For the person, even if he divides his activites between different domains, each of which is regulated by its own law, remains indissolubly united, and the fundamental structure of human experience as such also persists as a unitary whole.”

Today, July 6, is the anniversary of the execution of St. Thomas More. More refused to acknowledge Henry VIII as the head of the English Church and was thus convicted of treason. (On the chopping block, he is reported to have said “Wait till I have put my beard aside, for that hath done no treason”; click here for a fuller account of his noble death.) May he be a reminder that we cannot completely seperate our faith and our politics, for both are located in the locale of the indivdual human person.

David Michael Phelps