Andrew Sullivan on Christianism
Sullivan’s new Time essay, “My problem with Christianism,” contains his take on the co-opting of faith by politicians. (It is largely from him that I began using the word “Christianist.”) He suggests that the burgeoning identification of many of his co-religionists with the “religious left” is a non-solution, and writes:
So let me suggest that we take back the word Christian while giving the religious right a new adjective: Christianist. Christianity, in this view, is simply a faith. Christianism is an ideology, politics, an ism. The distinction between Christian and Christianist echoes the distinction we make between Muslim and Islamist. Muslims are those who follow Islam. Islamists are those who want to wield Islam as a political force and conflate state and mosque. Not all Islamists are violent. Only a tiny few are terrorists. […] It is the belief that religion dictates politics and that politics should dictate the laws for everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike.
That's what I dissent from, and I dissent from it as a Christian. [emphasis added]
Every religious person who believes in religious liberty—rather than sectarian power, as many on the Right would prefer—should carefully ponder his words. Those who most need to hear them will, of course, dismiss them out of hand.