Academic Urges Christians to Abstain from Politics


Liberals, it seems, are at a loss for how to fix the broken politics and degraded culture of modern society. Instead, they’re fixated on preventing Christians from trying to fix it. This was made clear by liberal academic Mark Lilla’s recent critique of postliberal Catholic thinkers in the New York Review of Books.

Lilla’s main target is Patrick Deneen, Sohrab Ahmari, and Adrian Vermeule, who he accuses of being overly critical of liberal ideology and advocating for a more Christian approach to politics. While Lilla concedes that his targets have some valid points, he believes they are fundamentally misguided in their diagnosis and proposed solutions.

However, Lilla’s critique is more focused on dismissing Christianity’s role in politics altogether. He argues that Christians should focus on spreading the Gospel rather than pursuing political power, and that any attempts to do so are inherently un-Christian. This is a rather curious position, given that the three postliberal thinkers Lilla criticizes are all employed in fields where political theory and politics are central concerns.

Lilla’s conclusion is that Christians should abandon all hope of influencing politics and instead focus on individual evangelization and discipleship. However, this is not a realistic or sustainable approach, as Christians are not just individuals but also citizens with a duty to participate in the political process.

Furthermore, Lilla’s suggestion that Christians should leave politics to the “Caesars of this world” is a radical departure from Christian tradition and neglects the biblical call to engage in politics and work towards a more just and equitable society.

In the end, Lilla’s critique of postliberal Catholic thinkers is less about offering a constructive critique of their ideas and more about imposing a liberal agenda on Christians. He wants Christians to give up any hope of influencing politics and instead leave it to self-admitted liberal failures like himself. However, this would be a betrayal of both Christian citizenship and the love we ought to show to our neighbors.

Nathanael Blake
Nathanael Blake
Nathanael Blake is a senior contributor and a postdoctoral fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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