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Public Theology: A CALL TO ACTION: The Church and U.S. Foreign Policymaking
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A CALL TO ACTION: The Church and U.S. Foreign Policymaking
In this essay Ronald A. Johnson calls for reasoned and authoritative church involvement in U.S. foreign policy development.

By Ronald A. Johnson, Former U.S. diplomat, Graduate Student, Boston University School of Theology


U.S. foreign policymaking is a secular exercise that cannot exclude ethical, moral and religious dimensions. Questions abound about the role of the church in the American political process that leads to foreign policy formation. Some say the church should address the pertinent moral and ethical issues; others advise leaving American strategic matters to foreign policy experts and practitioners. This essay calls for reasoned and authoritative church involvement in U.S. foreign policy development. The argument derives from the aspects of politics, a rich Christian political tradition and the church's historical association with U.S. foreign policymaking. The paper also addresses the modern church's hesitation to participate in foreign policy and calls attention to some temptations inherent to political action.


Before the U.S. military forces occupied Iraq in March 2003, clergy and religious organizations across America considered the questions of legitimacy and soundness of military action in the Middle East. The pluralistic nature of the American religious landscape facilitated an array of faith-based opinions on the appropriate course of action. Some religious groups adamantly supported the Bush Administration's inclination towards military force, some staunchly opposed it, and others voiced no opinion. According to a 2003 Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life study, 57 percent of regular American religious service attendees' clergy addressed the should-we-go-to war-in-Iraq question. Only 21 percent of those noted that clergy declared a position.

Religious leaders conducted denominational, ecumenical and interfaith conferences to discuss Iraq. The conferees addressed political-ethical-theological issues such as just and preemptive war theories, Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and its capacity to deploy them against the U.S., Saddam Hussein's link to Al-Qaeda and the events of 9/11, a war's possible effects on the Middle East peace process, the impact of unilateral action on international law and our national character, the need for international support, and the United Nations' post-war role. Clergy also addressed the necessity of a swift post-war humanitarian response, religious reconciliation in Iraq, and the appropriateness of faith-based aid organizations proselytizing the Iraqi people.

The ecclesial discussions engaged ethically laced foreign policy questions that contained concrete, short and long term political, military, economic and social implications. U.S. foreign policy questions generally embody similar elements. Should the church play a role in the decision making process concerning Iraq and other American foreign policy questions? Should the opinion of the church matter to policymakers? Some say the church could address those questions with a clear moral, ethical dimension and leave the strategic aspects to the foreign policy experts and practitioners. Others argue for no church role at all in U.S. foreign policymaking - the church's cultural and ethnic connections should limit its influence to domestic social interests, such as abortion, school prayer and gay marriage.

This paper addresses the question of should the American church-clergy, religious organizations, and local parish bodies-participate in American foreign policymaking in a manner that influences the nature and dimension of U.S. operations abroad.

My answer to that question is yes, the American church should actively contribute to the debates surrounding U.S. foreign policy. The nature and dynamics of the church's role must be addressed in another paper. This essay will examine the foundations for church involvement in the American political process that creates, implements and evaluates foreign policy, and attempt to prompt the American Christian community toward more effective political involvement without the use of unethical means or aligning itself to closely with a particular movement. The paper will focus on the role in U.S. foreign policymaking by the American church, which is herein defined as a collective of Christian (Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox) authoritative individuals and groups with a foundation and/or base in the United States. The term church within this essay denotes clergy, lay persons, local parishes, denominational and ecumenical bodies, interfaith organizations with a reasonable Christian presence, and Christian-based nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Some informative research and critical analysis of religion and foreign policy in recent years exist; but much remains undone.


The murderous events of September 11, 2001, and the Al-Qaeda terrorists' spiritual motivations renewed the interest of Americans and policymakers in religion's significance in the lives of people. The nation awakened to the reality that, contrary to conventional wisdom, religion remains an important part of our society, whether or not one can erect a manger scene or a Decalogue monument on public property, or pledge allegiance to "one nation under God."

Since the awakening, clergy, scholars and the public ask, "Why should the church participate in foreign policy?" My response: Why shouldn't it? The initial question implies a lack of appreciation for religion's present and historical place in American society. It assumes that religion played little or no previous role in foreign policy before September 11. Americans' crude understanding of church-state separation likely undergirds the question of religion's foreign policy function. Though the constitutional concept specifies state action independent of the church, it does not necessarily exclude the church from a meaningful role in assisting the state to perform its functions. I will now defend the church's involvement in the American political process that leads to foreign policymaking from the aspects of politics, a strong Christian political tradition and the church's historical association with U.S. decisionmaking.

Politics Demands Church Participation

The twenty-first century church must recognize and acknowledge the state (i.e. the United States Government) as the supreme power concerning the temporal affairs of our nation. Seventeenth century Westphalian thought and the subsequent Enlightenment granted supremacy and sovereignty in international affairs to the nation-states. This Western reaction to the religiously-motivated wars and upheavals that plagued medieval European societies relegated the church to a subordinate role within a secular international system. Ideally nation-states work in concert towards the good of the world through diplomacy, international alliances and conventions; but, realistically, prominent governmental interests guide each actor, who remains accountable to its national constituency.

The state is the final arbiter of national foreign policies. Late Vice President Hubert Humphrey said, "Foreign policy is really domestic policy with its hat on."1 This practical view aids our understanding that America's foreign policy springs not from a few isolated offices at the White House and the State Department. To the contrary, our international affairs often involve central issues for all government branches in correlation with affairs on the homefront. Foreign policy stems from the same rigorous and exhausting political process that emits such legislation as welfare reform, tax cuts, and logging restrictions.

J. Philip Wogaman, senior minister at Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., characterizes the state as: "society acting as a whole, with the ultimate power to compel compliance within its own jurisdiction...when the state acts it is with resources generated by the whole society...The power of the state cannot be set aside by some other body within society-while the power of every other person or group within society can be set aside by the state." 2 Consenting to Wogaman's characterization of the state, it follows to examine how the state, or society as a whole, governs itself to arrive at policy decisions. The United States and other free, democratic societies employ politics to construct and implement domestic and foreign policy. The use of the term politics in this piece transcends the partisan bickering and backroom dealing that Americans often associate with the word. Politics, in its pure form, is a necessary good that, according to Bernard Crick, "arises from accepting the different interests and different traditions, within a territorial unit under a common rule."3 Crick, a noted political theorist at the University of London (formerly with the London School of Economics), provides the definition of politics that will guide the remainder of this discussion. Politics is "the activity by which differing interests within a given unit of rule are conciliated by giving them a share in power in proportion to their importance to the welfare and the survival of the whole community."4 The political process does not favor any particular doctrine, but a practice of discussion, in which "public criticism is allowed in a manner conceivably effective." God, as God, need not consult; all others require politics.5 Some Christians may find Wogaman's view of the state and the Enlightenment's subjugated depiction of the church distasteful. But I recognize them as affirmation of the church's necessitated involvement in the American political process that leads to foreign policy creation. In order for the political system to work optimally, all parties must articulate their positions, especially those positions that oppose one another. "Politics needs men who will act freely...discussion demands dialectic."6 Therefore, politics demands church participation in the political process to ensure the integrity of the system.

Crick and Wogaman's definitions help to establish a political framework from which to further examine the church's role. Though for the past four centuries the church occupied a relegated position in domestic and international politics, it remains an important member of the American society. According to Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 59 percent of Americans consider religion "a very important part of their lives."7 Harvard professor of international relations Samuel Huntington highlights that "Americans are highly religious people, and for 87 percent of them that religion is Christianity."8 These statistics do not imply that citizens base their foreign policy opinions solely on religious convictions or that all Christian Americans speak with the same voice on international affairs. However, James Lindsay, a senior foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institute, contends that "most Americans, regardless of their faith or whether they have a faith or not, tend to think of foreign policy in moral terms."9 The above academic views highlight an important majority of the American population whose spiritual leanings should not be overshadowed by the interests of a secular society.

In the foreign policy debates, the President or National Security Advisor speaks for the White House; the Secretaries of State and Defense represent the diplomatic and military views respectively; majority and minority members of Congress project the views of their parties and constituents; professors and academics speak up for their schools of thought; and non-governmental organizations represent their individual causes. Church representatives (as a church, coalition, or faith-based NGO) should voice the views and interests of their respective Christian beliefs and constituency.

Many churchgoers are also citizens, with legislative representatives to promote their temporal interests. However, the church is the best poised institution to speak to the state on behalf of the churchgoers' ethical concerns grounded in Christian spiritual belief. Some temporal and ecclesial representatives may agree on the issues, despite discord within and between churches. Nevertheless, for effective politics, all voices, including that of the church, must be heard and respected, in both consent and dissent.

Christian Tradition Sanctions Political Action

A 2,000-year tradition, not counting the centuries of adopted Jewish history, exists to demonstrate the church's consistent political involvement. Jesus, the founder of the Christian faith, recognized the authority of temporal governments in his astute response to a question regarding imperial taxes, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's" (Matt. 22:21, KJV). Jesus' trial before the Roman procurator and subsequent crucifixion for treason were actions of the state, instigated by laws, lobbying and political calculations. Throughout the Patristic Age and under the Roman Empire, Western Christians remained a minority yet effective part of the political process, advancing their cause through apologetics and martyrdom. The church's dominant rule over the Western world beginning in the fourth century provoked centuries of debates over church involvement in state affairs. In most cases, Christian leaders found common ground on the necessity and authority of government. On the other hand, they opposed each other on whether the church should lead the government, participate in governmental actions, or opt out of the political system altogether. I will focus on Christian political thought concerning participation in the action of government, to include foreign policy.

The early church wrote volumes of material on Christians and political activity since the time of Christ. This survey focuses on three Christian political thinkers that influenced the church-state debate during the Middle Ages and the Reformation: John of Paris, who advocated for the pope's (church) surrender of primary authority for state affairs to the king (state), and Marsilius of Padua and John Calvin, who each promoted different levels of church involvement in political decisionmaking.

John of Paris

Dominican theologian John of Paris offered a shared-equality doctrine to the protracted thirteenth century quarrels between France's King Philip IV and Pope Boniface VIII. His On Royal and Papal Power argued against papal domination of royal powers and included ideas of communal church representation and election, political office as public stewardship and the conformity of political acts to law and common utility. John wrote: "Yet though it be said that in principle the priestly is a more dignified function than the royal, it does not follow that it is superior in every respect. For the lesser power, the secular, does not stand related to the greater, the therefore in temporal matters the temporal power is greater than the spiritual, and in these matters in no way subject to the spiritual since it is not derived from it. Both take their origin immediately from one supreme power, namely God. Hence the inferior is not subject to the superior in all things but only in those matters in which the supreme power has subordinated the inferior to the superior."10

John compared the royal-papal relationship to that of a head of household and a military commander. They both mastered their respective domains yet remained subject to a mutual supreme power. Though John of Paris could probably be considered an early proponent of church-state separation, it is difficult to determine how his relational model would function in a post-modern era. Martin Luther, several centuries later, held a similar "two kingdom" view of church-state relations.

Marsilius of Padua

Fourteenth century physician and theologian Marsilius of Padua ushered the church further towards its present day political position, although not in as separationalist a manner as John of Paris. He proposed a closer relationship between Christian aspirations for "this-worldly" and for "otherworldly" happiness while according civil life a high degree of self-sufficiency and autonomous intelligibility. Marsilius' The Defender of Peace invested the civil ruler with responsibility and authority unapproachable by other parts of the state. The ruler alone carried the responsibility for establishing and preserving political tranquility. Marsilius proposed that the government should prevent human excess by rationally proportioning to the other parts their due share of power. Moreover Christ came not into the world to dominate men or wield temporal rule, but rather to subject himself to the status of the present life.11 Christ meant for His actual and future disciples to submit themselves to state authority. Marsilius viewed the state as "a community established for the sake of the living and living well" of the community members.12 He noted Aristotle's six parts of the state: agricultural, artisan, military, financial, priestly, and judicial.13 The priesthood (church) held an equal role in coordination with the other parts to maintain political tranquility. "All nations agreed that it was appropriate to establish the priesthood for worship and honoring of ensure the goodness of human acts both individual and civil, on which depend almost completely the quiet and tranquility of communities."14

John Calvin

French theologian John Calvin implemented a reintegration of political order and spiritual community that transformed European church-state relations during the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation. His influence established an integrated structure of divinely constituted offices and powers at the church in Geneva and constructed the civil polity from educated moral sentiment and law, arguably transforming Luther's "two kingdoms" into a harmony of the spiritual and temporal realms. In Institutes of the Christian Religion, Calvin observed that in man, government is twofold: 1) the spiritual, trained to piety and divine worship; 2) the civil, instructed in those duties which, as men and citizens, we must perform.15 Wogaman similarly noted, "It is possible to belong to the faith community and the wider civil community simultaneously and in good faith."16

Like Marsilius and John before him, Calvin respected the authority of the state and viewed its legal administration necessary for civil tranquility. He described civil authority as "the most sacred, and by far the most honourable, of all stations in mortal life."17 He did not view government as necessarily contrary to Christian society. Calvin argued that the distinction between the church and the government, as described in the New Testament, "does not go so far as to justify us in supposing that the whole scheme of civil government is matter of pollution, with which Christian men have nothing to do."18

Though Calvin advocated obedience to civil authorities, his primary loyalty rested with the church. He taught that Christians retained a primary obedience to Jesus Christ. "In that obedience which we hold to be due to the commands of rulers, we must always make the exception, nay, must be particularly careful that it is not incompatible with obedience to him to whose will the wishes of all kings should be."19 Calvin expressed, "The Lord is King of kings; if civil rulers command anything against him let us not pay the least regard to it...On this ground Daniel denies that he had sinned in any respect against the king when he refused to obey his impious decrees."20 Oxford University theologian John Wyclif enunciated this principle of civil (or spiritual) disobedience some two centuries prior to Calvin. "The clergy should respectfully accept the civil law of secular princes to the extent that they are consonant with Holy Scriptures; where they are not consonant with God's law, they should take discreet steps to abolish them."21

John of Paris, Marsilius of Padua and John Calvin represent but a sample of the diversity of Christian political tradition that illustrates the church's struggle with the issue of political involvement. Though Christianity's relationship with the state has changed dramatically through the centuries, it has maintained some level of political activity, to include foreign policymaking, since the faith's inception until the present.

Historical Witness to Political Involvement

Religion and the American political process that creates foreign policy worked together and at odds throughout our nation's history. The questions surrounding the appropriateness of this religio-political symbiosis are new. J. Bryan Hehir, president of Catholic Charities, USA and ethics professor at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service explains the lack of recognition for religion's role as the modern political tradition's failure to think of it "as a significant element of policy and practice in world politics."22 As recently as the 1980s, major texts of international relations failed to address the dynamics of religion and foreign policy. Hehir concludes that neglect of the subject by the academy and U.S. foreign policy agencies impeded the latter from establishing organizational, bureaucratic structures to address the questions of religion and international affairs that gained global prominence in the last two decades.23

One of the most crucial foreign policy questions in U.S. history - whether or not to create an independent country - involved Christian influence and government action. Resembling reactions to the military conflict in Iraq, Christian denominations and their constituencies disagreed over support for the Revolutionary War. In general, colonial Congregationalists, Presbyterians and Catholics supported the war, and pacifist Quakers and Mennonites refused to serve in the army. Following independence, Americans differed again over what Puritan John Winthrop's "city upon the hill" concept meant for the nature of America's foreign involvement. Some promoted the nation's international responsibility to lead the world by moral example, while others favored direct intervention to spread American ways. This debate over what we know today as Manifest Destiny coincided with the second Great Awakening that energized Protestantism and precipitated numerous theological disputes. Yet, George Washington University history professor Leo Ribuffo argues, despite the convergence of these two powerful movements, that "theology per se had slight impact on the century expansionist consensus. The rhetoric of manifest destiny exuded more Enlightenment republicanism than religious beliefs."24

The roots of the Spanish-American War, the late nineteenth century event that arguably led America to a twentieth century hegemony, lay, according to Ribuffo, in sympathy for Cuban rebels fighting for independence.25 Yet even he could not deny that President William McKinley's Christian faith and the lobbying of "bloodthirsty" Protestants influenced the president's decision to enter the war. McKinley told Congress in April 1898 that intervention would fulfill American aspirations as a "Christian, peace-loving people."26

Following the victory in Cuba, the church helped to shape the president's decision to move the U.S. towards imperialism through occupation of the Philippines. McKinley told leaders of his own denomination, the Methodist Episcopal Church, that he concluded - after walking the White House halls and praying late at night - that "the U.S. must uplift and civilize and Christianize [the Filipinos], and by God's grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow-men for whom Christ also died."27 Quakers and Unitarians opposed the action, but Catholics and evangelical Protestants saw the prospect of new mission fields. Though secular issues probably led to the action's ratification, we cannot deny the contribution of Christian interests to the debate.

The Vietnam War was arguably the most significant U.S. foreign policy issue of the 1960s. Conservative Protestants that generally supported military action against Communism also saw Indochina as a ripe field for Christian missions. Other Christian denominations, however, vehemently opposed America's military presence in Southeast Asia. The war galvanized ecumenical opposition, spawned interdenominational peace networks, and organized the efforts of such notables as Reinhold Niebuhr, Martin Luther King, Jr., and A.J. Muste.28 Religious and other anti-war groups protested America's war policy to each level of government throughout the country and helped to influence the decision to withdraw. This historical survey shows that Christianity and American foreign policy have worked together or against one another since the founding of our nation. Though the combination, along with other factors and interests, netted mixed results from historical action, the church played an important role in the shaping of the twenty-first century American political system.


I have argued that the church's right and responsibility to participate in U.S. foreign policymaking stems from 1) the nature of the American democratic system and its governance under the political process, 2) the Christian tradition that recognizes the authority of the state and respects the church's supporting function in realizing national order and peace, and 3) the church's historical voice for American Christians in the country's foreign policy debates. I will now propose an explanation for the modern church's hesitancy to engage American foreign policy and encourage the church to advocate effectively on behalf of the Christian constituency.

Overcoming Post-Enlightenment Syndrome

The twenty-first century church should take its place among policy equals and actively engage the American political process that leads to foreign policy formation. Christianity's colored history and tradition warrant a place in the political debates of today and tomorrow. Why do the questions surrounding its involvement persist inside and outside the church? Why does the church in many ways appear hesitant to claim its ordained role in the American political process? The church has allowed the axiom of reason over faith to muzzle its political input and has fallen victim to what I shall call post-Enlightenment syndrome. The Enlightenment, some believed, sounded the death knell for the influence of religion in general, and particularly religion's influence in politics. Many assumed in the twentieth century that modernization would lead humanity to outgrow its need for religion. Throughout the post-World War II era, conventional wisdom held that U.S. foreign policy should avoid entanglements with religion. Wheaton College political science professor Mark Amstutz attributes this view to a secular realism that de-emphasized moral reasoning in foreign affairs. "Enlightenment prejudice" has led scholars and decision makers to analyze international relations solely from strategic perspectives."29

The church, to a reasonable extent, accepted this misguided approach. The church's post-Enlightenment syndrome - believing it should no longer participate in debates outside of a theological nature, including foreign policy -led many Christian leaders to either offer no opinion on foreign policy matters or passively allow government officials and intellectuals to dismiss their views out of hand.

But, as George Weigel, senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center points out, "by the end of the twentieth century, three of the four most potent culture-forming sources on the world historical stage were Roman Catholicism, evangelical Protestantism, and Islam."30 Weigel, Amstutz and Huntington agree, "The idea that modernization necessarily involves secularization has been decisively falsified by empirical evidence and by the lives of people."31 Huntington sees a "renaissance of religion," in which the power and salience of religion has increased.32 Politics and religion cannot be disentangled; religion has become important to the identity of people, government legitimacy and conflicts between peoples.33 Christian organizations, then, need to continue playing a role in U.S. foreign policymaking. Weigel suggests that we reassess the tendency to reduce international politics to military and economic categories alone. It is not an amoral realm. Moral claims and passions are important forces in the politics of nations.34 The church can contribute to the development and implementation of foreign policy cognizant of political morality by promoting moral reasoning, values, and behaviors that promote human dignity worldwide.

No Foreign Policy Pulpit

The church, however, warrants no a special hearing with policymakers or an exalted place at the bargaining table because of its moral, Christian revelations. Prudent foreign policy derives from the oftentimes grinding and exhausting political process that demands fiery, partisan, and sometimes hostile debate. Crick's definition of politics calls for the conciliation of differing interests "by giving them a share in power in proportion to their importance to the welfare and the survival of the whole community." Boston College sociologist Patricia M.Y. Chang cautions that though faith to influence government decisions motivates Christian groups, "religious lobbies are undistinguished from any of the other special interest group lobbies that seek to influence lawmakers. In a pluralist society they are not barred from making their opinions known, but neither are they given special privileges."35 To fulfill Crick's definition and overcome Chang's burden of proof, the church must prove its mettle with foreign policy elites and practitioners through sound, reasoned argumentation, moral credibility, ethical validity, and spiritual conviction.

Boston University ethicist James Nash sounded the call some 20 years ago of the "strategic imperative" to enhance the church's effectiveness in dealings with U.S. policymakers. As Nash rationalized it then, "If the church has a duty to influence the decisions of governments, then the church has a concomitant duty to act relevantly by willing the means necessary to achieve its political end."36 It is not enough in politics - particularly that of foreign policy - to simply "do something" or be a "placeholder." The church must gear itself to actively influence policymakers; and in politics that can often mean "speaking power to power." Nash argued, "Fidelity for the churches in politics is the strategic effort to succeed."37

The Church's Tempered Influence

I wish not want to romanticize or overstate the case for the church's influence in U.S. foreign policymaking. Though issues exist with which the church's influence can sway the vote, such as the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act, its role in the foreign policy process may oftentimes be modest and indirect at best. Ribuffo's historical analysis found that no major diplomatic decision turned on religious issues alone, and serious religious ideas presented at most an indirect impact on policy makers.38 These conclusions in no way diminish the church's duty. The church should not seek to dominate the political sphere, but rather to participate effectively in the Crickean model of politics within the U.S. democratic system. In this way we serve the interests of Jesus, the church's founder, and the interests of American society, of which we occupy an important part. Our primary mission ought to remain that of seeking the kingdom of heaven while living righteously on earth.

Prudent Political Action

Political participation in the foreign policy process can assume many shapes and forms, all of which can prove effective when the proper variables exist. I provide two cautionary notes to which the church must pay heed if it hopes to remain an authoritative position in both the political and ecclesial worlds. First, the church cannot engage in political practices that involve unethical measures. Political effectiveness, while important, does not imply "by any means necessary," regardless of the issue at hand. Some may think such constraints disadvantage the church in the dog-eat-dog world of politics; nevertheless, by using unethical or deceitful trickery to garner victory, the church risks becoming just another Beltway lobbying group and losing its identity as the institution established by Jesus Christ to spread the Gospel.

Second, the church should, with vigor, avoid aligning itself too closely with the U.S. government, a particular political party or social movement. Such alliance can discredit the church's position as the voice of the faithful and can suggest that it is a co-conspirator or mere puppet of one party or movement. This perception (or reality) can erode the church's authority on spiritual matters, which remains our principal focus. The government may be right on some things, but it will not be right on all things. French nobleman Alexis de Tocqueville cautioned, "When governments seem so strong and laws so stable, men do not see the danger that religion may run by allying itself with power." 39 Though American religious factions have long since sped down this forbidden path, it is not too late to reverse course. De Tocqueville's nineteen century warning to American churches concerning this dangerous modus vivendi maintains its relevance for the twenty-first century church:

"There have been religions intimately linked to earth governments...but when a religion makes such an sacrifices the future for the present, and by gaining a power to which it has no claim, it risks its legitimate allying itself with any political power, religion increases its strength over some but forfeits the hope of reigning over all...When the church is mingled with the bitter passions of this world, it is sometimes constrained to defend allies who are such from interest rather than from love...Hence religion cannot share the material strength of the rulers without being burdened with some of the animosity roused against them."40


This essay calls for reasoned and authoritative church involvement in U.S. foreign policymaking. For this level of participation, effective techniques and strategies must be developed to fashion the modern church as a more formidable interlocutor on foreign policy issues. Since Nash's "Political Feeble Church's and the Strategic Imperative," two decades ago, scholars and clergy have been slow to provide concrete methods to create and implement faith-based political strategy. Two notable exceptions are Elliott Abrams' The Influence of Faith and Doug Johnston's Faith-Based Diplomacy. Further research remains undone in the areas of denominational political action, faith-based political strategies, effective Christian lobbying techniques, and policy evaluation. U.S. foreign policymaking is a secular exercise that cannot exclude ethical, moral, and religious dimensions. American involvement in Iraq and other countries remains a central issue in the short and long term future of our nation's international affairs. The church should be prepared to provide enlightened guidance and a sound Christian perspective to policymakers, and not cower in the face of these and other foreign policy questions. It cannot yield its role in the political process to international affairs practitioners and scholars. Rather, the church must boldly answer the call of its Lord and its country to perform a faithful and reasoned duty to contribute to the welfare of the United States and to help bring peace to all of God's children.


1 Address, June 29, 1966, to the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce, Detroit, Michigan.

2 J. Philip Wogaman, Christian Perspectives on Politics (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2000), 15.

3 Bernard Crick, In Defence of Politics (London: Continuum, 2000), 18.

4 Ibid., 21. See also President Calvin Coolidge's view: "Politics is not an end, but a means. It is not a product, but a process. It is the art of government. Like other values it has its counterfeits. So much emphasis has been placed upon the false that the significance of the true has been obscured and politics has come to convey the meaning of crafty and cunning selfishness, instead of candid and sincere service," Calvin Coolidge, Have Faith in Massachusetts (Houghton, Mifflin, 1919), ch. 12.

5 Crick, 23, 33.

6 Ibid., 33.

7 Statements from the conference on "God and Foreign Policy: The Religious Divide Between the U.S. and Europe," July 10, 2003, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, D.C.

8 Samuel Huntington, "Religious Persecution and Religious Relevance in Today's World," in The Influence of Faith: Religious Groups & U.S. Foreign Policy ed. Elliott Abrams (New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2001), 59.

9 Statements from the discussion on "Religion and American Foreign Policy: Prophetic, Perilous, Inevitable," February 5, 2003, The Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C.

10 John of Paris, On Royal and Papal Power, trans. J.A. Watt (Toronto: The Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1971), 93.

11 Marsilius of Padua, The Defender of Peace, trans. Alan Gewirth (New York: Harper & Row, 1967), 114.

12 Ibid., 15.

13 Ibid.

14 Ibid., 18-19.

15 John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. Henry Beveridge, vol. 2 (London: James Clarke & Co., 1957), 140-141.

16 Wogaman, 195.

17 Calvin, 654.

18 Ibid., 652.

19 Ibid., 675.

20 Ibid.

21 John Wyclif, The King's Office, in From Irenaeus to Grotius: A Sourcebook in Christian Political Thought ed. Oliver O'Donovan and Joan Lockwood O'Donovan (Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1999), 501.

22 Statements from the conference on "Religion and American Foreign Policy: Prophetic, Perilous, Inevitable," February 5, 2003, The Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C.

23 Ibid.

24 Leo P. Ribuffo, "Religion in the History of U.S. Foreign Policy," in Abrams, 4.

25 Ibid., 7.

26 Ibid.

27 Ibid.

28 Ibid., 16.

29 Mark R. Amstutz, "Faith-Based NGOs and U.S. Foreign Policy," in Abrams, 175.

30 George Weigel, "Comment on Chapter 3," in Abrams, 65.

31 Ibid.

32 Huntington, 58. 33 Ibid.

34 Ibid., 66.

35 Patricia M.Y. Chang, "Religion and American Foreign Policy in the New Millennium," Islamiyat, June 2003, 3.

36 James A. Nash, "Politically Feeble Churches and the Strategic Imperative," in The Christian Century, 6 October 1982, 985.

37 Ibid.

38 Ribuffo, 20-21.

39 Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, ed. J.P. Mayer (New York: Harper & Row, 1966), 297.

40 Ibid.

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Date Added: 3/29/2004 Date Revised: 3/29/2004 9:39:23 AM

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