Christian politics

No one should accuse Oliver O’Donovan of tackling easy topics. In The Desire of the Nations (Cambridge University Press, 1999) he defended an idea most of us thought was dead and buried: Christendom. The dominant liberal attitudes of our time celebrate pluralism, including religious pluralism; we wouldn’t want to go back to the narrow old days when Christianity dominated society. Stanley Hauerwas and his friends rejoice that as a supposedly embattled minority, Christians can now stand up for what they believe much more easily than they could when they carried the burden of theirs being the whole culture’s more or less official religion. Until O’Donovan, professor of moral and pastoral theology at Oxford, everyone seemed to agree that Christendom—the idea that Christian faith should shape the secular order—was a bad idea.


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