Thursday, August 26, 2004

One Electorate Under God

Not sure how much longer this link with a review of One Electorate Under God will stay free on, but it's worth reading. I have the book on order; it looks like it has potential. It is a collection of essays that response to two presentations, one by (Catholic) Mario Cuomo and one by (evangelical) Representative Mark Souder, at at an event sponsored by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Some of the most intriguing summaries of the essays include:
Advocating, in effect, a very loose version of "natural law," a tradition historically associated with his Roman Catholicism, Mr. Cuomo spelled out two moral principles that he asserted "would occur to us if we were only 500,000 people on an island without books, without education, without rabbis or priests or history, and we had to figure out who and what we were." These two principles - respect for one another and collaborative improvement of the world - nicely captured Americans' perpetually competing concerns for individual freedom and for community, he said, and "are shared by most if not all our nation's religions." To which Mr. Souder replied that "the notion of a natural law common to all religions" was a particular worldview itself, and one at odds with his Christian faith. ... One of the book's most overtly religious and even theological essays came not from a theologian but from John J. Sweeney, the president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. Alongside his practical plea for religious attention to the needs of working families and the role of labor unions, Mr. Sweeney offered a capsule theology of work, rooted in the sacraments and a doctrine of "God's ongoing act of creation."