Welcome to TheoPol—a weekly snapshot of interconnections between theology and politics (posted biweekly during the summer).
In one light, theology and politics should have little to say to each other.
Theology is reflection upon the experience of faith. It is the way we think about the ultimate, whatever our ultimate cares and concerns may be. Politics rightly deals with sublunary questions, like how to tackle a public problem at a particular time, given the constraints and opportunities.
Theology can be cast as a view from the cosmos. In comparison, politics is a street-level transaction.
In another light, almost everyone has ultimate concerns.
Religious adherents and secular souls alike have embedded values, whether these are declared or not. Such values and assumptions will surface in politics, particularly during periods when critical masses are moved by the immaterial dimensions of life, struggle, and conflict. This appears to be one of those times.
TheoPol looks at the phenomenon through a journalistic lens. The interconnections are teased out from current affairs; also highlighted are stories of those who have grappled with the question of where to set the dial between theological conviction and political action.
Of particular interest is the cast of theological characters who coalesced during the civil rights and antiwar campaigns of the 1960s. They were present at the creation of the modern theology-and-politics movement and include iconic figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, the Rev. William Sloane Coffin, the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, and Father Daniel Berrigan.
They and many others, of varying theological strains, are counted among the TheoPols.
TheoPol is authored by William Bole.