Gary Hart: God and Caesar in America

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We take up again on Monday the church-and-state question — the Jeffersonian legacy and our Theocracy in America anxieties — with Gary Hart, the former Senator and presidential contender from Colorado. Before he got into law or politics, Gary Hart earned a divinity degree at Yale. He was raised in the Church of the Nazarene and graduated from Bethany Nazarene College. He has just published a thoughtful brief about a religious revival underway in America and the risky implications in political life.

…personal faith must be translated into the political context, not politics translated into the religious context.

Those on the right seem to think that they deserve a special place on the political platform simply because they are intense in their beliefs and that their intensity is somehow significantly more spiritual than anybody else’s. But I hold to my religious beliefs and am committed to the liberal humanitarian agenda they command in me, every bit as strongly as any person on the religious right. It does not seem to occur to those on the religious right that another person’s spiritual beliefs might lead them to different political conclusions, conclusions that we should care for the poor, seek peaceful resolution of conflict before making war, act as nature’s stewards, or be committed to social justice. The religious right is entitled to its interpretation of religious truth. It is not entitled to concludde that the intensity of its passions grants it a position of political superiority.

Gary Hart, God and Caesar in America, Fulcrum Publishing

That’s just a fragment of the argument, but it’s a start. Senator Santorum, James Dobson–will you join us?

Gary Hart

U.S. Senator from Colorado, 1975-1987

Author, God and Caesar in America: An Essay on Religion and Politics

Dr. Barrett Duke

Vice President, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

Roy Moore

Former Chief Justice of Alabama

In 2001, Moore installed a 5,300-pound granite monument to the Ten Commandments in the central rotunda of the Alabama state judicial building.

Running for Alabama Governor in 2006

Jeff Sharlet

co-founder, Killing the Buddha

editor, The Revealer

previous Open Source guest for God 2.0

A Gary Hart Reading List by Listener Franz Hartl

Who will say ‘no more’?

When the Personal Shouldn’t Be Political

Restoration of the Republic: The Jeffersonian Ideal in 21st-Century America

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