Religion & Liberty Online

How politics becomes religion

In his new article for the Catholic World Report, Samuel Gregg, Research Director for the Acton Institute, argues that many in the world today have replaced politics with religion.  One result of this is disproportionate outrage and scandal over political events, such as Brett Kavanaugh’s recent nomination to the United States Supreme Court. On the other hand, replacing religion with politics can also lead to a watered-down, “prudentialized” theology that ignores moral absolutes and weakens the bonds of faith.

Gregg argues that the “religious impulse with human beings seems indestructible,” leading many who have no religious faith to “find an outlet in political thought and activity for their natural inclination to search for the ultimate and satisfy their longing for a world that’s finally set to rights.” Say what you will about the tenets of socialism and all its utopian fantasies, at least it’s an ethos — and a very appealing one at that.  But it is not only socialist or utopian thought that casts such enchantment, nor is it only secular people that “fall into the trap of making politics their faith.”

Many people, Christians and non-Christians, have turned to politics — of any and every party along the political spectrum — in search of a way to right all the wrongs that people suffer here on earth. But, Gregg argues, we cannot fall into this fallacious way of thinking; justice in this world is relative and “politics isn’t capable of fixing everything for eternity.”  To think otherwise “would be to commit the folly of imagining that we are God”

You can find the full text of Gregg’s article here.