Congressional Issues 2012
A Product of Christianity
You would rather live in America than in Laos or Zimbabwe. This isn't because
Whites are superior to Asians or Africans.
You would rather live with Asians in Hong
Kong than stand in line for four hours with a bunch of Caucasians in Moscow
waiting to buy a quart of milk, and you would rather spend a week at an all-black
Southern Baptist Church camp than a week in a Soviet Gulag, being tortured
by white atheistic communists. This is because Western Civilization is better
than Eastern Civilization. Western Civilization is better than Buddhist Civilization
or animist tribalism.
And this is because Western Civilization is Christian Civilization.
Athens or Jerusalem?
Western Civilization is not Greco-Roman civilization. Rome fell.
Western Civilization is Christian Civilization.
Is America a Christian nation? Are the American ideals of "equality before
the law" and "the rule of law" products of Christianity, or are they
products of "the Enlightenment," which restored principles of the Empires
of Rome and Greece, lost during the Christian "dark ages"?
On Fri, 11 Jul 2003 10:43:35 -0700, Libertarian Party Congressional Candidate Joe
|"The philosophy of the ratifiers of
the Bill of Rights" does not lie in their view of supernatural powers
or the long-traced connection between the philosophy of individual rights,
which they espoused, and natural law ("the higher law"). As
Jim Powell points out in his masterly book, The Triumph of Liberty
(New York: Free Press, 2000), perhaps the first voice in favor of the higher
law was Cicero in republican Rome. He was not a Christian, and the
Greco-Roman pagan religion was not constructed around the idea of a
"law giver" as the Mosaic religion is.
The truth of a higher law, identified by F.A.
Hayek in Law, Legislation and Liberty (Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 1973) is essentially the concept of "the rules of just
conduct," which the Greek philosophers identified as "nomos."
The fact that the monotheistic religions absorbed this
idea is no surprise, but it is completely wrong to say the monotheistic
religions invented it.
The idea of an "Enlightenment" is wrong on all counts. The Christian
middle ages were not devoid of Greco-Roman influence. In fact, Athens pervaded the
middle ages. Thomas Aquinas is well known for his efforts to synthesize Aristotle
and Christ. Medieval Christians were converts to Christ from Rome, and brought Rome
into the Church. It was Christian
scholars who preserved the writings of the "classical" age.
But there were some parts of Rome that could not be synthesized into Medieval
Greco-Roman philosophy was homosexual and fascist.
- • The word "Fascism"
comes from a Roman symbol of authority
- • Homosexuality and anti-Christian immorality were pervasive in the
Sources of Western Sexual Morality
This philosophical conflict has long been described as the conflict between
Jerusalem (Christianity) and Athens (the Enlightenment).
The Old Testament Prophet Daniel predicted the destruction of the ancient
imperial world, and the inauguration of a new world order under Christ.
|Daniel 2 31
“You, O king, were watching; and
behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was
excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. 32
This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver,
its belly and thighs of bronze, 33
its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34
You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image
on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 35
Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed
together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind
carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that
struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the
O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a
kingdom, power, strength, and glory; 38
and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the
birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made
you ruler over them all—you are this head of gold. 39
But after you shall arise another kingdom [s] inferior to yours; then
another [t], a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.
the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in
pieces [u] and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that
kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. 41
Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of
iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in
it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. 42
And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of
clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. 43
As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of
men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with
And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which
shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people;
it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand
Inasmuch as you saw that the Stone [a] was cut out of the mountain
without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay,
the silver, and the gold—the great God has made known to the king what
will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation
|Notes - Geneva Bible, 1599
By gold, silver, brass, and iron are meant the Chaldean, Persian,
Macedonian [Greek], and Roman kingdoms, which would successively rule all
the world until Christ (who is here called the stone) himself comes, and
destroys the last. And this was to assure the Jews that their affliction
would not end with the empire of the Chaldeans, but that they should
patiently await the coming of the Messiah, who would be at the end of this
Daniel leaves out the kingdom of the Assyrians, which was before the
Babylonian, both because it was not a monarchy and general empire, and also
because he would declare the things that were to come, until the coming of
Christ, for the comfort of the elect among these wonderful alterations. And
he calls the Babylonian kingdom the golden head, because in respect of the
other three, it was the best, and yet it was of itself wicked and cruel.
(s) Meaning, the Persians who were not inferior in dignity, power, or
riches, but were worse with regard to ambition, cruelty, and every type of
vice, showing that the world would grow worse and worse, until it was
restored by Christ.
(t) That is, those of the Macedonians will be of brass, not alluding to
the hardness of it, but to the vileness with regard to silver.
(u) That is, the Roman empire will subdue all these others, which after
Alexander were divided into the Macedonians, Grecians, Syrians, and
(a) Meaning Christ, who was sent by God, and not set up by man, whose
kingdom at the beginning would be small and without beauty to man's
judgment, but would at length grow and fill the whole earth, which he calls
a great mountain, as in Dan 2:35. And this kingdom, which is not only
referred to the person of Christ, but also to the whole body of his Church,
and to every member of it, will be eternal: for the Spirit that is in them
is eternal life; Ro 8:10.
Undergirding American capitalism and American prosperity are "family
values" which are antithetical to Enlightenment thinking. America's
Founding Fathers drew from the Bible and Christianity far more than they drew from
Rome. Clinton Rossiter notes that even when they mentioned
The Roman example worked both ways: From
the decline of the republic Americans could learn the fate of free states that
succumb to luxury.
philosophers and political thinkers of Greece and Rome had
little influence as well. It is important that we pause to
remember that the whole concept of
"representation" is a distinctively Biblical
concept and "representative government" is an
inheritance from ancient Israel through the Reformation.
It is not in any sense borrowed from Greece or Rome as we
are so often told. Russell Kirk makes this observation:
did not exist, nor was even thought of in ancient
civilizations. In the city-states of the Hellenic and
the Roman epochs, a free government was one in which the
citizens -- or at least the principal men among them --
could assemble in a forum, debate public concerns, and
vote as individuals. In neither republican Rome or
imperial Rome was any attempt made to
"represent" the far-flung provinces or even to
represent Italy; for during the Republic the government
was carried on by the Senate, an aristocratic
self-perpetuating body; and during the Empire by the
emperors, their power virtually absolute. (America's
British Culture, p. 48)
This is not to say that we
have gained anything from the history of Greece and Rome,
but it is to say that we have gained little positive from
their history (other than what not to do) and we have
gained next to nothing from the philosophies of these
so-called "classical" civilizations. Most
leaders in this country had fair acquaintance with the
most prominent classical authors. But, as Russell Kirk
points out, "from
such study the American leaders of the War of Independence
and the constitution-making era learned, by their own
account, chiefly what political blunders of ancient times
ought to be avoided by the Republic of the United States."
(Ibid., p. 98)
Founding Era and Christianity, Steve Wilkins
|Though the American
founders were inspired by the examples of Greece and Rome, they also saw
limitations in those examples. Alexander Hamilton wrote that it would be “as
ridiculous to seek for [political] models in the simple ages of Greece and
Rome as it would be to go in quest of them among the Hottentots and
Laplanders.” In The Federalist Papers, we read at one point that the
classical idea of liberty decreed “to the same citizens the hemlock on one
day and statues on the next….” And elsewhere: “Had every Athenian
citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a
mob.” While the ancients had direct democracy that was susceptible to the
unjust passions of the mob and supported by large-scale slavery, we today
have representative democracy, with full citizenship and the franchise
extended in principle to all. Let us try to understand how this great change
A New Morality
In ancient Greece and Rome, individual
human life had no particular value in and of itself. The Spartans left weak
children to die on the hillside. Infanticide was common, as it is common
even today in many parts of the world. Fathers who wanted sons had few
qualms about drowning their newborn daughters. Human beings were routinely
bludgeoned to death or mauled by wild animals in the Roman gladiatorial
arena. Many of the great classical thinkers saw nothing wrong with these
practices. Christianity, on the other hand, contributed to their demise by
fostering moral outrage at the mistreatment of innocent human life.
Likewise, women had a very low status
in ancient Greece and Rome, as they do today in many cultures, notably in
the Muslim world. Such views are common in patriarchal cultures. And they
were prevalent as well in the Jewish society in which Jesus lived. But Jesus
broke the traditional taboos of his time when he scandalously permitted
women of low social status to travel with him and be part of his circle of
friends and confidantes.
In fact, it might be said that the
"Enlightenment" represented an attempt to repudiate the
Medieval synthesis of Jerusalem and Athens by rejecting everything
Christian and focusing only on the totalitarian, sado-masochistic,
secular and homosexual aspects of the "classical" world.
Enlightenment ideals are transforming the modern world of
Christian civilization into the "post-modern" world of tyranny
and mass death.
The rest of his article shows that it was Christianity that transformed the
ancient world into the modern world.
Everything that was good about classical philosophy had been set forth centuries
earlier, in "the Law and the Prophets."
The Greek idea of nomos was preceded by several centuries in the Hebrew
concept of Wisdom, which undergirded King Solomon's advice to his son
in the book of Proverbs, notably chapter 8, in which Wisdom speaks throughout:
14 Counsel and sound judgment are mine;
I have understanding and power.
15 By me kings reign
and rulers make laws that are just;
16 by me princes govern,
and all nobles who rule on earth.
- The Hebrew Republic by E.C.
- • pdf
- • review
- • at
- Here is the origin of "Western
Democracy," not the elitist-slave societies of
Greece and Rome.
By justice a king gives a country stability, but one who is greedy for
bribes tears it down.
If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will always be secure.
. . . and in other political verses too numerous to mention, verses which are
"Hayekian" to the core.
The Christian concept of "logos" was found in the Septuagint, the 3rd
century BC Greek translation of the Old Testament, and the baton was passed to John
who wrote that this Wisdom existed before the foundation of the earth (John
1:1) -- certainly predating the Greeks.
- The idea that Western Civilization came from Greco-Roman ideas is a myth. See
Gary North's essay, "Greek Mythology: The Myth Of Classical Politics."
It's certainly true that some philosophers in the
Greco-Roman tradition warned against the excesses of power, and America's Founding
Fathers often quoted them, as did John Calvin and the Puritans, but on the whole it
was a debauched slave-state, and the Founders more often referred to Rome as a
warning of what would happen if America abandoned its
Biblical quest to be "a
City on a Hill":
The Religious Foundation of Government
Thomas Paine quoted the Bible (1
Samuel 8) in his revolutionary pamphlet against British Monarchy, Common
Sense. Tyranny violated a higher law, he said. When Samuel warned Israel of the
consequences of seeking a king "like all the nations," he spoke around the
year 1000 B.C., and had not "absorbed" anything from Greece or Rome.
(Plato wrote his blueprint for tyranny around 360 B.C.)
For libertarians to reject the Hebrew-Christian logos in favor of Greek
philosophers is truly suicidal. Plato's Republic is a blueprint for
dictatorship, while the Bible is a sustained critique of messianic Statism
and a blueprint for anarcho-capitalism.
John Lofton has compiled
some telling quotations from scholars in a previous -- more Christian -- century.
What follows is from his essay:
And make no mistake about it. Regardless of what you’ve heard regarding the
alleged greatness of the ancient, Greco-Roman, pre-Christian world, there was no
real, true freedom and/or liberty during this era. None.
In his book The
Ancient City: A Study On The Religion, Laws And Institutions Of Greece And Rome
(1889), Fustel de Coulanges spells out in detail the darkness of this Christless
The citizen was subordinate
in everything, and without any reserve, to the city; he belonged to it body and
soul. The [pagan] religion which produced the State, and the State which supported
[this] religion, sustained each other; these two powers formed a power almost
superhuman, to which the body and soul were equally enslaved. There was nothing
independent in man; his body belonged to the State and was devoted to its defense.
For example, Aristotle and Plato incorporated into their ideal codes the command
that a deformed baby son was to be put to death. And in his “Laws,” Plato says
(and this sounds very familiar today): “Parents ought not to be free to send or
not to send their children to the masters to whom the city has chosen [for their
education]; for the children belong less to their parents than to the city.” And
in ancient Athens, a man could be put on trial and convicted for something called
“incivism,” that is being insufficiently affectionate toward the State!
Coulanges says (emphasis mine):
The ancients, therefore,
knew neither liberty in private life, liberty in education, nor religious liberty.
The human person counted for very little against that holy and almost divine
authority called the
country or the State…. It is a singular error, among all human errors,
to believe that in the ancient cities men enjoyed liberty. They had not
even the idea of it.
Commenting on our
Lord’s God/Caesar distinction, Coulanges says:
It is the first time that
God and the state are so clearly distinguished. For Caesar at that period was
still the pontifex maximus, the chief and the principal organ of the
Roman religion; he was the guardian and the interpreter of beliefs. He held the
worship and the dogmas in his hands. Even his person was sacred and divine, for it
was a peculiarity of the policy of the emperors that, wishing to recover the
attributes of ancient royalty, they were careful not to forget the divine
character which antiquity had attached to the king-pontiffs and to the
priest-founders. But now Christ breaks the alliance which paganism and the empire
wished to renew. He proclaims that religion is no longer the State, and that to
obey Caesar is no longer the same thing as to obey God.
Christianity … separates
what all antiquity had confounded…. It was the source whence individual liberty
flowed…. The first duty no longer consisted in giving one’s time, one’s
strength, one’s life to the State … all the virtues were no longer comprised
in patriotism, for the soul no longer had a country. Man felt that he had other
obligations besides that of living and dying for the city. Christianity … placed
God, the family, the human individual above country, the neighbor above the city.
Because of this hideous tyranny, it is no surprise that self-murder (suicide) was
so rampant in the ancient world. As Dr. Gerhard Uhlhorn tells us in his The
Conflict Of Christianity With Heathenism
Heathenism ended in
barrenness and sheer despair, and at last the only comfort was that men are free
to leave this miserable world by suicide. Patet exitus! The way out of
this life stands open! That is the last consolation of expiring heathenism.
And he quotes Seneca, who said that “the aim of all philosophy is to despise
life,” as saying, concerning the suicide option:
Seest thou yon steep height?
Thence is the descent to freedom. Seest thou yon sea, yon river, yon well? Freedom
sits there in the depths. Seest thou yon low, withered tree? There freedom hangs.
Seest thou thy neck, thy throat, thy heart? They are ways of escape from bondage.
To which Dr. Uhihorn adds:
Can the bankruptcy of
Heathenism be more plainly declared than in these words…? With what power then
must have come the preaching of this word: "Christ is risen! The wages of sin
is death: but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
And in a little noticed and seldom quoted passage from Democracy
in America, Alexis de Tocqueville says:
The most profound and
capacious minds of Rome and Greece ... tried to prove that slavery was in the
order of nature and that it would always exist. Nay, more, everything shows that
those of the ancients who had been slaves before they became free, many of whom
have left us excellent writings, themselves regarded servitude in no other light.
All the great writers of
antiquity belonged to the aristocracy of masters, or at least they saw that
aristocracy established and expanded before their eyes. Their mind, after it had
expanded itself in several directions, was barred from further progress in this
one; and the advent of Jesus Christ upon earth was required to teach that all
members of the human race are by nature equal and alike.
The historian Arnold Toynbee saw, accurately, the great failing of the ancient
Greeks, that they “saw in Man, ‘the Lord of Creation,’ and worshipped him as
an idol instead of God.” And this rejection of the true God —- which similarly
threatens modern Western civilization —- led to Hellenism’s breakdown and
disintegration. Rejecting Gibbon, Toynbee says neither Christians nor barbarians
destroyed the Roman Empire; they merely walked over a corpse.
And in his book Religious
Origins of the American Revolution
(Scholars Press, 1976), Page Smith points out:
The American Revolution
might thus be said to have started, in a sense, when Martin Luther nailed his 95
theses to the church door at Wittenberg. It received a substantial part its
theological and philosophical underpinnings from John Calvin’s Institutes
Of The Christian Religion
and much of its social history from the Puritan Revolution of 1640- 1660, and,
perhaps, less obviously, from the Glorious Revolution of 1689.
Put another way, the
American Revolution is inconceivable in the absence of that context of ideas which
have constituted radical
leaders of the Revolution in every colony were imbued with the precepts of the
Indeed, he adds, in early America, the Reformation
left its mark on every
aspect of the personal and social life of the faithful. In the family, in
education, in business activity, in work, in community and, ultimately, in
politics, the consequences of the Reformation were determinative for American
As remote or repugnant as Puritanism may be to some, Smith says “it is
essential that we understand that the Reformation in its full power was one of the
great emancipations of history.” He says the passage in the book of Micah about
“every man…under his vine and under his
fig tree” was “the most potent expression of the colonist’s determination
to be independent whatever the cost,…having substantial control over his own
affairs. No theme was more constantly reiterated by writers and speakers in the era
of the Revolution.”
F. D. Roosevelt, Address at Dedication of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
September 2, 1940 Public Papers of the Presidents,1940, Item 92
There is, moreover, another enemy at home. That enemy is the mean and petty
spirit that mocks at ideals, sneers at sacrifice and pretends that the American
people can live by bread alone. If the spirit of God is not in us, and if we will
not prepare to give all that we have and all that we are to preserve Christian
civilization in our land, we shall go to destruction.
Labor Day Radio Address. September 1, 1941 Public Papers of the Presidents,
F. D. Roosevelt, 1941, Item 97
On this day—this American holiday- we are celebrating the rights of free
laboring men and women. The preservation of these rights is vitally important now,
not only to us who enjoy them—but to the whole future of Christian civilization.
GREEK MYTHOLOGY: THE MYTH OF CLASSICAL POLITICS
Leviticus: An Economic Commentary on the Bible, Appendix E
Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics 1994.
Biblical Source of Western Sexual Morality
with the author in considering the moral precepts of Jesus
as more pure, correct, and sublime than those of ancient
Thomas Jefferson to Edward Dowse on April 19, 1803
"As much as I love, esteem and admire the Greeks, I
believe the Hebrews have done more to enlighten and
civilize the world. Moses did more than all their
legislators and philosophers."
"By renouncing the Bible, philosophers swing from
their moorings upon all moral subjects. . . . It is the
only correct map of the human heart that ever has been
published. . . . All systems of religion, morals, and
government not founded upon it [the Bible] must perish,
and how consoling the thought, it will not only survive
the wreck of these systems but the world itself. 'The
Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.'"
Benjamin Rush to John Adams, January 23, 1807.
Order: Morality or Socialism?
and the Protestant Reformation
Christianity and History
The Critics of Christ
U.S. Constitution Found
to be Unconstitutional
The Rise, Fall, and Renaissance of
Classical Liberalism-Part I
A Philosophical Self-Portrait
Civilization Medieval Perspectives for Today . . .
Christian Civilization - NRA
Old Truths Have Not
Online - News and Articles Christian Civilization
1995, Vol. 24, No. 5
New Vision of Man: How Christianity Has Changed Political Economy"
by Michael Novak*
Author , The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
One of the 20th century's greatest religious
writers, Michael Novak, addresses the relationship between religion and economics.
He argues that Christ revolutionized the human conception of the political economy
in at least seven important ways.
This presentation was prepared for a July 1994
seminar in Crakow, Poland on "Centesimus Annus and the Free Society,"
and for a November 1994 seminar sponsored by Hillsdale's Center for Constructive
Alternatives seminar, "God and Man: Perspectives on Christianity in the 20th
For centuries, scholars and laymen have studied the Bible's impact on our
religion, politics, education, and culture, but very little serious attention has
been devoted to its impact on our economics. It is as if our actions in the
marketplace have nothing to do with our spiritual beliefs. Nothing could be
further from the truth. My aim here is to demonstrate how Judeo Christianity, and
Jesus, in particular, revolutionized the political economy of the ancient world
and how that revolution still profoundly affects the world today.
I wish to propose for your consideration the following thesis: At least seven
contributions made by Christian thinker, meditating on the words and deeds of
Jesus Christ, altered the vision of the good society proposed by the classical
writers of Greece and Rome and made certain modern conceptions of political
economy possible. Be warned that we are talking about foundational issues. The
going won't be entirely easy.
Be warned, also, that I want to approach this subject in a way satisfying to
secular thinkers. You shouldn't have to be a believer in Jesus in order to grasp
the plausibility of my argument. In that spirit, let me begin, first, by citing
Richard Rorty, who once wrote that as a progressive philosopher he owes more to
Jesus for certain key progressive notions, such as compassion and equality, than
to any of the classical writers. Analogously, in his book, Why I am Not a
Christian, Bertrand Russell conceded that, although he took Jesus to be no
more than a humanistic moral prophet, modem progressivism is indebted to Christ
for the ideal of compassion.
In short, in order to recognize the crucial contributions that the coming of
Christ brought into modern movements of political economy, one does not have to be
a Christian. One may take a quite secular point of view and still give credit
where credit is due.
Here, then, are the seven major contributions made by Jesus to our modern
conceptions of political economy.
To Bring Judaism to the Gentiles
From Jerusalem, that crossroads between three continents
open to the East and West, North and South, Jesus brought recognition of the One
God, the Creator The name this God gave to Himself is "I AM WHO AM" , He
is, as opposed to the rest of us, who have no necessary or permanent hold
on being. He is the One who IS; other things are those who am, but also are not. He
is the Creator of all things. All things that are depend upon Him. As all
things spring from His action in creating them, so they depend upon Him for their
being maintained in existence, their "standing out from" nothingness [Ex
+ sistere, L., to stand out from].
The term "Creator" implies a free person; it suggests that creation
was a free act, an act that did not flow from necessity. It was an act of
intelligence, it was a choice, and it was willed. The Creator knew what He was
doing, and He willed it; that is, "He saw that it is good." From this
notion of the One God/ Creator, three practical corollaries for human action
Be intelligent. Made in the image of God, we should be attentive and
intelligent, as our Creator is.
Trust liberty. As God loved us, so it is fitting for us to respond with
love. Since in creating us He knew what He was doing and He it, we have reason to
trust His will. He created us with understanding and free will; creation was a
free act. Since He made us in His image, well ought we to say with Jefferson:
"The God who gave us life gave us liberty."
Understand that history has a beginning, and an end. At a certain
moment, time was created by God. Time is directed toward "building up the
Kingdom of God...on earth as in heaven." Creation is directed toward final
union with its Creator.
As many scholars have noted, the idea of "progress," like the idea of
"creation," are not Greek ideas , nor are they Roman. The Greeks
preferred notions of the necessary procession of the world from a First Principle.
While in a limited sense they understood the progress of ideas, skills, and
technologies and also saw how these could be lost, in general, they viewed history
as a cycle of endless return. They lacked a notion of historical progress. The
idea of history as a category distinct from nature is a Hebrew rather than a Greek
Analogously, as Lord Acton argued in the essays he prepared for his History
of Liberty, liberty is an idea coincident with the spread of Christianity. Up
to a point, the idea of liberty is a Jewish idea. Every story in the Bible is
about a drama involving the human will. In one chapter, King David is faithful to
his Lord; in another unfaithful. The suspense always lies in what he will choose
next. Nonetheless, Judaism is not a missionary religion; normally one receives
Judaism by being born of a Jewish mother; in this sense, Judaism is rooted in
genealogy rather than in liberty. Beyond this point, Christianity expanded the
notion of liberty and made it universal. The Christian idea of liberty remains
rooted in the liberty of the Creator, as in Judaism. Through Christianity, this
Jewish idea becomes the inheritance of all the other peoples on earth.
Recognition of the One God/Creator means that the fundamental attitude of human
beings toward God is, and ought to be, receptivity. All that we are we have
received from God. This is true both of our creation and our redemption. God acts
first. We respond. Everything is a gift. "Everything we look upon is
blessed" (Yeats). "Grace is everywhere" (Bemanos). Thus, offering
thanksgiving is our first moral obligation.
It is difficult to draw out, in brief compass, all the implications for
political economy of the fact that history begins in the free act of the Creator,
who made humans in His image and who gave them both existence and an impulse
toward communion with their first breath. In this act of creation, in any case,
Jefferson properly located (and it was the sense of the American people) not only
the origin of the inner core of human rights: "...and endowed by their
Creator with certain inalienable rights, including...."but also the
perspective of providential history: "When in the course of human
events..." The Americans were aware of creating something "new": a
new world, a new order, a new science of politics. As children of the Creator,
they felt no taboo against originality; on the contrary, they thought it their
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
When Jesus spoke of God, He spoke of the communion of three persons in one.
This means that, in God, the mystery of being and the mystery of
communion are one. Unlike the Greeks such as Parmedides, Plato, and Aristotle,
who thought of God or the Nous as One, living in solitary isolation,
the Christian world was taught by Jesus to think of God as a communion of three.
In other words, the mystery of communion, or community, is one with the very
mystery of being. The sheer fact that we are alive sometimes comes over us at dusk
on an autumn day, as we walk across a corn field and in the tang of the evening
air hear a crow lift off against the sky. We may pause then to wonder, in
admiration and gratitude. We could so easily have not been, and yet we are, at
least for these fragile moments. Soon another generation will take our place, and
tramp over the same field. We experience wonder at the sheer fact: At this moment,
we are. And we also apprehend the fact that we are part of a long
procession of the human community in time; and that we are, by the grace of God,
one with God. To exist is already something to marvel at; so great a communion is
even more so. Our wonder is not so much doubled; it is squared, infinitely
This recognition of the Trinity is not without significance for political
economy. First, it inspires us with a new respect for an ideal of community not
often found on this earth, a community in which each person is separate, distinct,
and independent, and yet in which there is, nonetheless, communion. It teaches us
that the relation between community and person is deeper and richer that we might
have imagined. Christians should not simply lose themselves in community, having
their personality and independence merge into an undifferentiated mass movement.
On the contrary, Christianity teaches us that in true community the distinctness
and independence of each person are also crucial. Persons reach their full
development only in community with others. No matter how highly developed in
himself or herself, a totally isolated person, cut-off from others, is regarded as
something of a monster. In parallel, a community that refuses to recognize the
autonomy of individual persons often uses individuals as means to "the common
good," rather than treating persons as ends in themselves. Such communities
are coercive and tyrannical.
Christianity, in short, opens up the ideal of catholicity which has always been
a mark of true Christianity. Katholike means all of humanity, the whole
human world. In this world, persons, and even cultures, are distinct, and have
their own autonomy and claim on our respect. E pluribus unum. The many form
one; but the one does not melt the many into the lowest common denominator. The
many retain their individual vitality, and for this they show gratitude to the
community that allows them, in fact encourages them, to do so. Person and
community must be defined in terms of each other.
The Children of God
In Plato's Republic, citizens were divided in this way: A few were of
gold, a slightly larger body of silver, and the vast majority of lead. The last
had the souls of slaves and, therefore, were properly enslaved. Only persons of
gold are truly to be treated as ends in themselves. For Judaism and Christianity,
on the contrary, the God who made every single child gave worth and dignity to
each of them, however weak or vulnerable. "What you do unto the weakest of
these, you do unto me." God identified Himself with the most humble and most
Our Creator knows each of us by name, and understands our own individuality
with a far greater clarity that we ourselves do; after all, He made us. (Thomas
Aquinas once wrote that God is infinite, and so when He creates human beings in
His image, He must in fact create an infinite number of them to mirror back His
own infinity.) Each of us reflects only a small fragment of God's identity. If one
of us is lost, the image of God intended to be reflected by that one is lost. The
image of God reflected in the human becomes distorted.
In this respect, Judaism and Christianity grant a fundamental equality in the
sight of God to all human beings, whatever their talents or station. This equality
arises because God penetrates below any artificial rank, honor, or station
that may on the surface differentiate one from another. He sees past those things.
He sees into us. He sees us as we are in our uniqueness, and it is that
uniqueness that He values. Let us call this form of equality by the clumsy but
useful name, equality-as-uniqueness. Before God, we have equal weight in
our uniqueness, not because we are the same, but because each of us
is different. Each is made by God after an original design.
This conception of equality-uniqueness is quite different from the modern
"progressive" or socialist conception of equality-sameness. The
Christian notion is not a levelling notion. Neither does it delight in uniformity.
On the contrary, it tries to pay heed to, and give respect to, the unique image of
God in each person.
For most of its history, Christianity, like Judaism, flourished in hierarchical
societies. While recognizing that every single person lives and moves in sight of
God's judgment and is equally a creature of God, Christianity has also rejoiced in
the differences among us and between us. God did not make us equal in talent,
ability, character, office, calling, or fortune.
Equality-uniqueness is not the same as equality-sameness. The first recognizes
our claim to a unique identity and dignity. The second desires to take away what
is unique and to submerge it in uniformity. Thus, modern movements such as
socialism have taken the original Christian impulse of equality, which they
inherited, and disfigured it. Like Christianity, modern socialist movements reject
the stratification of citizens into gold, silver, and lead, as in Plato's scheme.
But, since they are materialistic at root, their traditional impulse has been to
pull people down, to place all on the same level, to enforce uniformity. This
program is inexorably coercive, unlovely, and depressing.
It is true that virtually all peoples have traditions of compassion for the
suffering, care for those in need, and concern for others. However, in most
religious traditions, these movements of the heart are limited to one's own
family, kin, nation, or culture. In some cultures, young males in particular have
to be hard and insensitive to pain, so that they will be sufficiently cruel to
enemies. Terror is the instrument intended to drive outsiders away from the
territory of the tribe. In principle (though not always in practice), Christianity
opposes this limitation on compassion. It teaches people the impulse to reach out,
especially to the most vulnerable, to the poor, the hungry, the wretched, those in
prison, the hopeless, the sick, and others. It tells humans to love their enemies.
It teaches a universal compassion. It teaches people to see the dignity even of
those who in the eyes of the world have lost their dignity, and those who are
helpless to act on their own behalf. This is the "solidarity" whose
necessity for modernity Rorty perceives.
In the name of compassion, Christianity tries to humble the mighty and to prod
the rich into concern for the poor. It does not turn the young male away from
being a warrior, but it does teach him to model Himself on Christ, and tires to
become a new type of male in human history: the knight bound by a code of
compassion, the gentleman. It teaches him to learn, to be meek, humble, peaceable,
kind, and generous. It introduces a new and fruitful tension between the warrior
and the gentlemen, magnanimity and humility, meekness and fierce ambition.
A Universal Family
Christianity has taught human beings that an underlying imperative of history
is to bring about a law-like, peaceable community, among all people of good will
on the entire earth. For political economy, Christianity proposes a new ideal: the
entire human race is a universal family, created by the one same God, and urged to
love that God. Yet at the same time, Christianity (like Judaism before it) is also
the religion of a particular kind of God: not the Deity who looks down on all
things from an olympian height but, in Christianity's case, a God who became incarnate.
The Christian God, incarnate, was carried in the womb of a single woman, among
a particular people, at a precise intersection of time and space, and nourished in
a local community then practically unknown to the rest of the peoples on this
planet. Christianity is a religion of the concrete and the universal. It pays
attention to the flesh, the particular, the concrete, and each single intersection
of space and time; its God is the God who made and cares for every lily of the
field, every blade of grass, every hair on the head of each of us. Its God is the
God of singulars, the God who Himself became a singular man. At the same time, the
Christian God is the Creator of all.
In a sense, this Christian God goes beyond contemporary conceptions of
"individualism" and "communitarianism." With 18th-century
British statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke, Christianity sees the need for
proper attention to every "little platoon" of society, to the immediate
neighborhood, to the immediate family. Our social policies must be incarnate, must
be rooted in the actual flesh of concrete people in their actual local, intimate
worlds. At the same time, Christianity directs the attention of these little
communities toward the larger communities of which they are a part. On the one
hand, Christianity forbids them to be merely parochial or xenophobic. On the other
hand, it warns them against becoming premature universalists, one-worlders,
gnostics pretending to be pure spirits, and detached from all the limits and
beauties of concrete flesh. Christianity gives warning against both extremes. It
instructs us about the precarious balance between concrete and universal in our
own nature. This is the mystery of catholicity.
"I Am the Truth"
The Creator of all things has total insight into all things. He knows what He
has created. This gives the weak, modest minds of human beings the vocation to use
their minds relentlessly, in order to penetrate the hidden layers of
intelligibility that God has written into His creation. Everything in creation is
in principle understandable: In fact, at every moment everything is understood by
Him, who is eternal and therefore simultaneously present to all things. (In God
there is no history, no past-present-future. In His insight into reality, all
things are as if simultaneous. Even though in history they may unfold
sequentially, they are all at once, that is, simultaneously, open to His
Our second president, John Adams, wrote that in giving us a notion of God as
the Source of all truth, and the Judge of all, the Hebrews laid before the human
race the possibility of civilization. Before the undeceivable Judgment of God, the
Light of Truth cannot be deflected by riches, wealth, or worldly power. Armed with
this conviction, Jews and Christians are empowered to use their intellects and to
search without fear into the causes of things, their relationships, their powers,
and their purposes. This understanding of Truth makes humans free. For
Christianity does not teach that Truth is an illusion based upon the opinions of
those in power, or merely a rationalization of powerful interests in this world.
Christianity is not deconstructionist, and it is certainly not totalitarian, Its
commitment to Truth beyond human purposes is, in fact, a rebuke to all
totalitarian schemes and all nihilist cynicism.
Moreover, by locating Truth (with a capital T) in God, beyond our poor powers
fully to comprehend, Christianity empowers human reason. It does so by inviting us
to use our heads as best we can, to discern the evidences that bring us as close
to Truth as human beings can attain. It endows human beings with a vocation to
inquire endlessly, relentlessly, to give play to the unquenchable eros of the
desire to understand that most profoundly restless drive to know that teaches
human beings their own finitude while it also informs them of their participation
in the infinite.
The notion of Truth is crucial to civilization. As Thomas Aquinas held,
civilization is constituted by conversation. Civilized persons persuade one
another through argument. Barbarians club one another into submission.
Civilization requires citizens to recognize that they do not possess the truth,
but must be possessed by it, to the degree possible to them. Truth matters
greatly. But Truth is greater than any one of us. We do not possess it; it
possesses us. Therefore, humans must learn such civilizing habits as being
respectful and open to others, listening attentively, trying to see aspects of the
Truth that they do not as yet see. Because the search for Truth is vital to each
of us, humans must argue with each other, urge each other onward, point out
deficiencies in one another's arguments, and open the way for greater
participation in the Truth by every one of us.
In this respect, the search for Truth makes us not only humble but also civil.
It teaches us why we hold that every single person has an inviolable
dignity: Each is made in the image of the Creator to perform noble acts, such as
to understand, to deliberate, to choose, to love. These noble activities of human
beings cannot be repressed without repressing the Image of God in them. Such an
act would be doubly sinful. It violates the other person, and it is an offense
One of the ironies of our present age is that the great philosophical advocates
of the Enlightenment no longer believe in Reason (with a capital R). They have
surrendered their confidence in the vocation of Reason to cynics such as to the
post-modernists and deconstructionists. Such philosophers (Sophists, Socrates
called them) hold that there is no Truth, that all things are relative, and that
the great realities of life are power and interest. So we have come to an ironic
pass. The children of the Enlightenment have abandoned Reason, while those they
have considered unenlightened and living in darkness, the people of Jewish and
Christian faith, remain today reason's (without a capital R) best defenders. For
believing Jews and Christians ground their confidence in reason in the Creator of
all reason, and their confidence in understanding in the One who understands
everything He made , and loves it, besides.
There can be no civilization of reason, or of love, without this faith in the
vocation of reason.
The Name of God: Mercy
Christianity teaches realistically not only the glories of human beings , their
being made in the image of God , but also their sins, weaknesses, and evil
tendencies. Judaism and Christianity are not utopian; they are quite realistic
about human beings. They try to understand humans as they are, as God sees them
both in their sins and in the graces that He grants them. This sharp awareness of
human sinfulness was very important to the American founding.
Without ever using the term "original sin," the Founders were, in
such documents as The Federalist, eloquent about the flaws, weaknesses, and
evils to which human beings are prone. Therefore, they designed a republic that
would last, not only among saints, but also among sinners. (There is no point in
building a Republic for saints; there are too few of them; besides, the ones who
do exist are too difficult to live with.) If you want to make a Republic that will
last, you must construct it for sinners, because sinners are not just a moral
majority, they are virtually a moral unanimity.
Christianity teaches that at every moment the God who made us is judging how
well we make use of our liberty. And the first word of Christianity in this
respect is: "Fear not. Be not afraid." For Christianity teaches that
Truth is ordered to mercy. Truth is not, thank God, ordered first of all to
justice. For if Truth were ordered to strict justice, not one of us would stand
against the gale.
God is just, true, but the more accurate name for Him is not justice, but
rather mercy. (The Latin root of this word conveys the idea more clearly: Misericordia
comes from miseris + cor , give one's heart to les miserables,
the wretched ones.) This name of God, Misericordia, according to St. Thomas
Aquinas, is God's most fitting name. Toward our misery, He opens His heart.
Precisely as sinners, He accepts us. "At the heart of Christianity lies the
sinner," Charles Pιguy wrote.
Yet mercy is only possible because of Judgment. Judgment Day is the Truth on
which civilization is grounded. No matter the currents of opinion in our time, or
any time, may be; no matter what the powers and principalities may say or do; no
matter the solicitations pressing upon us from our families, friends, associates,
and larger culture; no matter what the pressures may be , we will still be under
the Judgment of the One who is undeceivable, who knows what is in us, and who
knows the movements of our souls more clearly than we know them ourselves. In His
Light, we are called to bring a certain honesty into our own lives, into our
dealings with others, and into our respect for the Light that God has imparted to
every human being. It is on this basis that human beings may be said to have
inalienable rights, and dignity, and infinite worth.
Jesus, the Teacher
These seven recognitions lie at the root of Jewish-Christian civilization, the
one that is today evasively called "Western civilization." From them, we
get our deepest and most powerful notions of truth, liberty, community, person,
conscience, equality, compassion, mercy, and virtue. These are the deepest ideals
and energies working in our culture, as yeast works in dough, as a seed falling
into the ground dies and becomes a spreading mustard tree.
These are practical recognitions. They have effects in every person and in
every moment of life, and throughout society. If you stifle these notions, if you
wipe them out, the institutions of the free society become unworkable. In this
sense, a U.S. Supreme Court Justice once wrote, "Our institutions presuppose
a Supreme Being." They do not presuppose any Supreme Being. They
presuppose the God of Judaism and Christianity. And not only our institutions
presuppose these realities. So do our conceptions of our own identity, and the
daily actions of our own lives. Remove these religious foundations from our
intellects, our lives, and the free society , in its complex checks and balances,
and its highly articulated divisions of power , becomes incoherent to
understanding and unworkable in practice.
For the present form of the free society, therefore, we owe a great deal to the
intervention of Jesus Christ in history. In bringing those of us who are not
Jewish the Word that brings life, in giving us a nobler conception of what it is
to be human, and in giving us insight into our own weaknesses and sins, Jesus shed
light available from no other source. Better than the philosophers, Jesus Christ
is the teacher of many lessons indispensible for the working of the free society.
These lessons may be, and have been secularized , but not without losing their
center, their coherence, and their long-term persuasive power.
But that alone would be as nothing, of course, if we did not learn from Jesus
that we, all of us, participate in His life, and in living with Him, live in, with
and through the Father and the Holy Spirit in a glorious community of love. For
what would it profit us, if we gained the whole world, and all the free
institutions that flourish with it, and lost our own souls?
Michael Novak, former U.S. ambassador to the Human Rights Commission of the
United Nations, currently holds the George Frederick Jewett Chair in Religion
and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.
He is the author of a dozen books, including: The Catholic Ethic and
the Spirit of Capitalism, This Hemisphere of Liberty, Freedom
with Justice, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, and Belief and
The Polish Solidarity movement and the Czech underground studied translations
(often secretly and illegally) in the 1970's, as did members of pro-democratic
movements in South Korea, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, and the Philippines, and
China in the 1980's. Pope John Paul II's Centesimus Annus, published in
1991, is widely regarded as having been influenced by Mr. Novak's writings, and
in her memoirs former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher noted that they
"proved the intellectual basis of my approach to those great questions
brought together in political parlance as 'the quality of life.'"
In May of 1994, Mr. Novak was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress in
Reprinted by permission from IMPRIMIS, the monthly speech
digest of Hillsdale College (www.hillsdale.com)
The Government of the Samoan Islands has sent an envoy, in the person of its
secretary of state, to invite the Government of the United States to recognize and
protect their independence, to establish commercial relations with their people,
and to assist them in their steps toward regulated and responsible government. The
inhabitants of these islands, having made considerable progress in Christian
civilization and the development of trade, are doubtful of their
ability to maintain peace and independence without the aid of some stronger power.
The subject is deemed worthy of respectful attention, and the claims upon our
assistance by this distant community will be carefully considered.
B. Hayes: First Annual Message, December 3, 1877
The recommendations of this international conference of enlightened statesmen
will doubtless have the considerate attention of Congress and its cooperation in
the removal of unnecessary barriers to beneficial intercourse between the nations
of America. But while the commercial results which it is hoped will follow this
conference are worthy of pursuit and of the great interests they have excited, it
is believed that the crowning benefit will be found in the better securities which
may be devised for the maintenance of peace among all American nations and the
settlement of all contentions by methods that a Christian
civilization can approve.
Harrison: First Annual Message, December 3, 1889
I have appealed against race discriminations as to civil rights and immunities,
and have asked that law-abiding men of all creeds arid all colors should unite to
discourage and to suppress lawlessness. Lynchings are a reproach to any community;
they impeach the adequacy of our institutions for the punishment of crime; they
brutalize the participants and shame our Christian
Harrison: Letter to the Virginia State Baptist Convention on Lawlessness in the
Southern States, May 21, 1892
The proposition of the Democratic platform is to turn over the islands as soon
as a stable government is established. This has been established. The proposal
then is in effect to turn them over at once. Such action will lead to ultimate
chaos in the islands and the progress among the ignorant masses in education and
better living will stop. We are engaged in the Philippines in a great missionary
work that does our nation honor, and is certain to promote in a most effective way
the influence of Christian civilization. It is
cowardly to lay down the burden until our purpose is achieved.
Howard Taft: Address Accepting the Republican Presidential Nomination, July
The four hundredth anniversary of the printing of the first English Bible is an
event of great significance. It challenges the reverent attention of
English-speaking peoples the world over. To that day, October 4, 1535, when Myles
Coverdale, an Augustinian Friar, later the Bishop of Exeter, produced this Book in
the common vernacular, we trace not only a measurable increase in the cultural
value and influence of this greatest of books, but a quickening in the widespread
dissemination of those moral and spiritual precepts that have so greatly affected
the progress of Christian civilization. The
part that William Tyndale played in this English translation is generally
acknowledged by the historian. It is also evident that there were others who made
valuable contributions to the monumental undertaking. Independent of and apart
from the devotion of these zealous translators, the work they did marks the
beginning of one of the great epochs in the history of English-speaking peoples.
It would be difficult to appraise the far-reaching influence of this work and
subsequent translations upon the speech, literature, moral and religious character
of our people and their institutions. It has done much to refine and enrich our
language. To it may be traced the richest and best we have in our literature.
Poetry, prose, painting, music and oratory have had in it their guide and
inspiration. In it Lincoln found the rounded euphonious phrases for his Gettysburg
address. Speaking of its place in his life, he says: "In regard to the great
Book, I have only to say, it is the best gift which God has ever given to
One cannot study the story of the rise and development of the men and women who
have been and continue to be the pathfinders and benefactors of our people and not
recognize the outstanding place the Bible has occupied as the guide and
inspiration of their thought and practice. Apart from their professed allegiance
to any particular form of Christian doctrine or creedal expression of faith, they
have found in it that which has shaped their course and determined their action.
Look where we will, even in periods that have been marked by apostasy and doubt,
still men have found here in these sacred pages that which has refreshed and
encouraged them as they prosecuted their pilgrimage and sought for higher levels
of thinking and living.
In the formative days of the Republic the directing influence the Bible
exercised upon the fathers of the Nation is conspicuously evident. To Washington
it contained the sure and certain moral precepts that constituted the basis of his
action. That which proceeded from it transcended all other books, however
elevating their thought. To his astute mind moral and religious principles were
the "indispensable supports" of political prosperity, the
"essential pillars of civil society." Learned as Jefferson was in the
best of the ancient philosophers, he turned to the Bible as the source of his
higher thinking and reasoning. Speaking of the lofty teachings of the Master, he
said: "He pushed His scrutinies into the heart of man; erected His tribunal
in the region of his thoughts, and purified the waters at the fountain head."
Beyond this he held that the Bible contained the noblest ethical system the world
has known. His own compilation of the selected portions of this Book, in what is
known as "Jefferson's Bible," bears evidence of the profound reverence
in which he held it.
Entirely apart from these citations of the place the Bible has occupied in the
thought and philosophy of the good and the great, it is the veneration in which it
has been and is held by vast numbers of our people that gives it its supreme place
in our literature. No matter what the accidents and chances of life may bring in
their train, no matter what the changing habits and fashions of the world may
effect, this Book continues to hold its unchallenged place as the most loved, the
most quoted and the most universally read and pondered of all the volumes which
our libraries contain. It has withstood assaults, it has resisted and survived the
most searching microscopic examination, it has stood every test that could be
applied to it and yet it continues to' hold its supreme place as the Book of
books. There have been periods when it has suffered stern and searching criticism,
but the hottest flame has not destroyed its prevailing and persistent power. We
cannot read the history of our rise and development as a Nation, without reckoning
with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic. Its
teaching,. as has been wisely suggested, is ploughed into the very heart of the
race. Where we have been truest and most consistent in obeying its precepts we
have attained the greatest measure of contentment and prosperity; where it has
been to us as the words of a book that is sealed, we have faltered in our way,
lost our range finders and found our progress checked. It is well that we observe
this anniversary of the first publishing of our English Bible. The time is
propitious to place a fresh emphasis upon its place and worth in the economy of
our life as a people. As literature, as a book that contains a system of ethics,
of moral and religious principles, it stands unique and alone. I commend its
thoughtful and reverent reading to all our people. Its refining and elevating
influence is indispensable to our most cherished hopes and ideals.
D. Roosevelt: Statement on the Four Hundredth Anniversary of the Printing of the
English Bible, October 6, 1935
At the Pan American Conference at Buenos Aires, and again at Lima, we discussed
a dim and unpleasant possibility. We feared that other Continents might become so
involved in wars brought on by the school of destruction that the Americans might
have to become the guardian of Western culture, the protector of Christian
The great achievements of science and even of art can be used in one way or
another to destroy as well as to create; they are only instruments by which men
try to do the things they most want to do. If death is desired, science can do
that. If a full, rich, and useful life is sought, science can do that also.
Happily for us that question has been solved—for in the New World we live for
each other and in the service of a Christian faith.
I am a pacifist. You, my fellow citizens of twenty-one American Republics, are
But I believe that by overwhelming majorities in all the Americas you and I, in
the long run if it be necessary, will act together to protect and defend by every
means at our command our science, our culture, our American freedom and our
D. Roosevelt: Radio Address Before the Eighth Pan American Scientific Congress.
Washington, D.C., May 10, 1940
We have come to realize the greatest attack that has ever been launched against
freedom of the individual is nearer the Americas than ever before. To meet that
attack we must prepare beforehand—for the simple reason that preparing later may
and probably would be too late.
We must prepare in a thousand ways. Men are not enough. They must have arms.
They must learn how to use those arms. They must have skilled leaders—who, in
turn, must be trained. New bases must be established and I think will be
established to enable our fleet to defend our shores. Men and women must be taught
to create the supplies that we need. And we must counter the agents of the
dictators within our Nation.
There is, moreover, another enemy at home. That enemy is the mean and petty
spirit that mocks at ideals, sneers at sacrifice and pretends that the American
people can live by bread alone. If the spirit of God is not in us, and if we will
not prepare to give all that we have and all that we are to preserve Christian
civilization in our land, we shall go to destruction.
D. Roosevelt: Address at Dedication of Great Smoky Mountains National Park,
September 2, 1940
On this day—this American holiday- we are celebrating the rights of free
laboring men and women.
The preservation of these rights is vitally important now, not only to us who
enjoy them—but to the whole future of Christian
American labor now bears a tremendous responsibility in the winning of this
most brutal, most terrible of all wars.
In our factories and shops and arsenals we are building weapons on a scale
great in its magnitude. To all the battle fronts of this world these weapons are
being dispatched, by day and by night, over the seas and through the air. And this
Nation is now devising and developing new weapons of unprecedented power toward
the maintenance of democracy.
D. Roosevelt: Labor Day Radio Address, September 1, 1941
I HAVE ASKED Mr. Myron C. Taylor to return to Italy as my personal
representative to His Holiness the Pope, with the rank of Ambassador.
After the cessation of hostilities Mr. Taylor came home for consultation and
report. I have studied his report of his several audiences with the Pope with
interest and with profit. I feel that he can continue to render helpful service to
the cause of Christian civilization if, at my
instance from time to time, he resumes his duties in Italy. As on his previous
trips Mr. Taylor will confer not only with the Pope but with other leaders in the
spiritual world and in the world of politics and secular affairs as he travels
through Europe in the fulfillment of his mission.
The cessation of active fighting has left the world in a state of unrest. In
many quarters we witness lamentable conflicts of principle and policy. Out of all
of this unrest and conflict, however, one conviction emerges as dear as the
noonday. It is that we shall establish an enduring peace only if we build it upon
S. Truman: Statement by the President Upon Reappointing Myron Taylor as His
Personal Representative at the Vatican, May 3, 1946
Q. Mrs. May Craig, Portland ( Maine ) Press Herald: Mr. President, the Agriculture
Department is considering selling off our surplus butter at 10 cents a pound.
Republicans advocated free enterprise in their platform. Do you think the
continued accumulation of unsalable surpluses is free enterprise?
I don't think that we should get too excited about these surpluses, until we
approach that place of unusability, deterioration, and spoilage. Then it gets
serious, because I believe now that we have a moral value involved. I just don't
think it is right for the sweat and toil and resources of the United States to be
thrown out in the middle of the ocean when someone else is starving.
Now, you say "all right, if it is not socialistic, it is based on a purely
humanitarian thing"--and I believe George Kennan argues that humanitarian and
moralistic values have no place in foreign relations. But after all, we do believe
that we are a product and a representative of the Judaic-Christian
civilization, and it does teach some concern for your brother. And I
believe in that.
D. Eisenhower: The President's News Conference, June 17,
We have come together in memory of an inspiring moment in history-that moment,
300 years ago, when a small band of Jewish people arrived on the ship "Saint
Charles" in what was then the Dutch colony or state of New Amsterdam. It was
an event meaningful not only to the Jews of America, but to all Americans--of all
faiths, of all national origins....
In this respect--as in so many others--they were no different from scores of
other groups that landed on our shores. Only 34 years earlier, another party had
landed at Plymouth Rock. That group, too, came here in the hope of escaping
persecution, of gaining religious freedom, of settling quietly in the wilderness
to build their homes and rear their families.
And there was another noble concept of our common Judeo-Christian
civilization shared by these two groups: the ideal of peace.
I recall that wonderful prophecy of Isaiah: "And the work of righteousness
shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance
The pursuit of peace is at once our religious obligation and our national
policy. Peace in freedom, where all men dwell in security, is the ideal toward
which our foreign policy is directed.
D. Eisenhower: Address at the American Jewish Tercentenary Dinner, New York City,
October 20, 1954
Let us ask ourselves: What is at the heart of freedom? In the answer lies the
deepest hope for the future of mankind and the reason there can be no walls around
those who are determined to be free. Each of us, each of you, is made in the most
enduring, powerful image of Western civilization. We're made in the image of God,
the image of God, the Creator.
This is our power, and this our freedom. This is our future. And through this
power—not drugs, not materialism nor any other "ism"—can we find
brotherhood. And you can create the new Europe—a Europe democratic, a Europe
united east and west, a Europe at long last completely free.
Now, we hear it said by some that Europe may be glum about her future, that
Europe dares no more. Well, forgive me, but I think this kind of talk is nonsense.
And I hope you think it's nonsense, too. It is you, Germany, and you, Europe, that
gave the values and vitality of Judeo-Christian
civilization to America and to the world. It is Europe that has known
more tragedy and triumph than any place in history. Each time you suffered, you
sprang back like giants—the giants, Adenauer and Schuman, Churchill and Monnet.
Reagan: Remarks to Citizens in Hambach, Federal Republic of Germany, May
Prime Minister Berlusconi. As President Bush has just mentioned, in
Brussels, during the NATO meeting, I spoke, and then I spoke at Göteborg during
the dinner that we shared. And I said that I was in agreement with what President
Bush had said very clearly. The world scene has changed. There is no antagonism
between Europe and the United States, on the one hand, and the Soviet Union on the
other hand. The Soviet Union is something different.
And we're very interested as Europeans with the support of the United States;
we look to a progressive journey of the Russian Federation. Maybe tomorrow, the
day after, the Russian Federation might even become part of the European
federation, where we have countries that share a common Christian
civilization. And I believe that in the future we will also be able to
speak of a Russian Federation that becomes part of the Atlantic Alliance.
W. Bush: The President's News Conference With Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of
Italy in Rome, Italy, July 23, 2001
next: Campaign Finance, Corruption and the Oath of Office