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Several discourses about theology, church, and politics are occurring among Christian theologians in the United States. One influential strand centers on the communitarian theology of Stanley Hauerwas, who calls on Christians to witness faithfully against liberalism in general and war in particular. Jeffrey Stout, in his widely discussed Democracy and Tradition (2004), responds that religious people ought precisely to endorse those democratic and liberal American traditions that join religious and secular counterparts to battle injustice. Hauerwas, Stout, and many of their interlocutors envision liberal U.S. culture as the context of Christian social ethics. The ensuing debate rarely incorporates Catholic scholars, feminist scholars, scholars of color, or international and liberationist voices. Their inclusion could enhance an understanding of the role of the church in society, and support a common morality in the face of global pluralism. More importantly, it could broaden the scope of discourse on religion and politics to envision global Christian social ethics.

Keywords: Christian social ethics; Hauerwas; Stout; church and politics; common morality; global politics; globalization; religion and politics

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9795.2007.00312.x

Affiliations: Boston College

Publication date: September 1, 2007

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