Well, there might be. But not with a candidate that has a serious chance of winning in November.
I get the impression that church going is higher in the US than in most other ‘western’ countries. And I understand that the morally conservatives vote for the GOP. But there are a lot of ‘Christian Democrats’ in European countries where church going is low or nil. In the EU parliament they belong to the largest group, I think around 300 of the 626 seats. Of course, they have a bif opportunity to influence things. Is the GOP getting these votes by design or by default. It seems to me that Republicans always try to steer clear of the hot topic issues (abortion, stem cells ASF), placating the religious, trying not to upset them, but not really pushing their agenda.
And I think the Religious group might consist of people who’re conservative when it comes to moral issues, but might contain people who’re both fiscally conservative and liberal.
I’ve read talk abot the greens and how they might never get to be a serious player, but what about a Christian Coalition? Would it be feasible to try to get a candidate elected? Would he (I don’t think ti would be a she) have a chance? And if not - how would it affect the ballance between the Elephant and the Donkey?
Well, there might be. But not with a candidate that has a serious chance of winning in November.
There already is a Christian Coalition of America, and it is a powerful political entity.
IMHO, the proposed “christian” party would fall apart because of too many intra-christian doctrinal disputes. When entire churches split over issues like whether it’s acceptable to swaddle the legs of a male infant together, or whether they must be done separately (to more resemble trousers), what hope for them to all get behind a particular religious candidate? Remember Pat Robertson? A lot of fundamentalist christians didn’t get behind him because his views on how to be a christian didn’t jibe with theirs.
Meanwhile, the Republicans serve the interests of the ‘generic’ fundamentalist agenda, but manage to avoid all that splintering.
We already have Christian coalition, a moral majority, a silent majority, etc. I think we already have enough fanatical goose stepping fascists here, thank you very much.
The very strong political culture of maintaing a separation of church and state in the US would make a large body of voters, including Christian voters, very suspicious of any political party which included “Christian” in its name.
It’s worth noting that France also has a strong tradition of the separation of church and state (which expresses itself in different ways from the US tradition, but it’s certainly there). While there have been (and probably still are) significant political parties in France which form part of the international Christian Democratic movement, none of them have included “Christian” in their names.
Lib - I didn’t know about that, but assumed there would be some such. It just hasn’t made the news over here.
QtM - There are as many brands of Christianity over here, but they come together in politics.
Steve - that’s your opinion, I’m just asking a question.
Are you kidding? We’ve got two: The Democrats, and the Republicans.
>Why no Christian party in the US?
Because the US doesn’t have a parliamentary system, and proportional representation. Because of this, it generally results in just 2 parties at one time that have any real power. This means if someone did create a Christian party, those who voted for it would be throwing away their vote. If by some magic the US ever did go to a parliamentary system, the Republican party would be a dead duck. The social conservatives would jump to a Christian party, while a lot of economic conservatives would be voting Libertarian.
And, a putative Christian party in the US would be an interesting dilemma for the Roman Catholics. Roman Catholics would certainly favor a party against abortion. However, Catholics surely wouldn’t want to support a Christian party which was dominated by Protestants. Catholics aren’t keen on the idea of prayer in public schools. They much would rather the Pope and priests handle all religious matters for them.
>Are you kidding? We’ve got two: The Democrats, and the Republicans.
The Democrats? You mean devout Christians support abortion on demand and gay rights?
What is a Christian Party? Can we define that first? How would they distinguish themselves? What would be a likely platform? As it is, you’ve got millions of Christians in both the Democrat and Republican parties who can’t agree on basic issues like school prayer, embryonic stem cell research, gay marriage, and abortion.
I don’t know about abortion, but our Polycarp is for gay rights (afaik).
I know abortion is a touchy subject, but seriously, I don’t see ANY problem with devout Christians supporting gay rights.
How about social justice? The civil rights movement of the fifties and sixties was lead largely by Christians-hello, Rev Martin Luther King Jr? More help for the poor, equal opportunity, and end to discrimination-all very much a part of Christianity.
Ever heard of liberation theology?
Although I am opposed to abortion, I support a woman’s right to choose and I certainly support gay rights. In my church there is an openly gap bishop now.
There are lots of Christians who are liberal Democrats. Some Republicans would have you think otherwise. And maybe some Republicans think we are not “true Christians.”
In America there are so many different “brands” of Christians that anyone calling themselves “the Christian Party” would come under fire from most other Christian groups.
(aside to The Gaspode: ever been to Bornholm?)
count me with Poly as being for gay rights, as being gay isn’t a crime.
I also support legal abortion.
I am not a Republican.
I know no other church people in real life who agree with me on any of these 3 things.
A christian party?
Like someone said, too many factions disagreeing with each other on what Christian is.
So how do the Christian Democrats in Europe “define” themselves?
I don’t know that that’s necessarily the case. Historically at least, many European countries have been dominated by a single denomination (the Catholic Church in some countries; Evangelical Lutheran in others), often formerly or vestigially established, in a way which the United States has never been. A number of other countries have a bi-sectarian pattern, with the Catholic Church and (historically) one or a relatively small number of Protestant denominations. (In Germany, I believe there are about equal numbers of Catholics and Protestants, with the Protestants dominated by a single Protestant united church or church union.) I’m not just talking about the number of different sects listed in the phone book–these days that may well be as high in Malmö as it is in a typical American city–but about the lack of one single sect or denomination which demographically predominates. The largest single church in the United States is the Roman Catholic Church, but even by the official membership rolls of the church its adherents don’t make up much more than 20% or so of the population–and the United States has certainly never been thought of as a predominately Catholic nation; to the extent we have a “national religion”, it’s “Protestantism”, which in the U.S. covers a lot of territory. In my particular state (Georgia), the Southern Baptists are often thought of as being the dominant religion, but according to the latest figures, Southern Baptists only make up a bit over 25% of the population of the state. Generally, there is no church which claims the at least nominal adherence of 90% of the population, the way the Evangelical Lutheran churches have in Scandinavia.
My mother is Christian, Democrat, and supports gay marriage and abortion rights. I’m not sure about “abortion on demand” though. It’s my impression that most Democrats, and nearly all Democratic politicians, support “sensible” restrictions on abortion such as banning it in the third trimester unless the mother’s health is in danger.
I agree with Miller. Both the Republicans and Democrats are Christian parties or Judeo-Christian at the least. You’d have to look hard to find an elected official in America who doesn’t claim to be either Christian or Jewish.
Though the Christian Democratic movement is very heterogeneous, it agrees generally on certain topics. The proposed design of the State is different from that advocated by the liberals: it must be decentralized, to be made up by various bodies, but to have an unquestionable capacity. Christian Democracy sees economy as being at the service of humanity; they do not call capitalism into question. The duty of care of the State is thus of some importance for Christian Democrats; this overlaps with the ideas of Christian socialism. Christian Democrats have usually followed that Vatican positions on public-moral issues. However they may have accepted laicity, divorce and even abortion. Christian Democrats usually ally with Social Democracy, Conservatives or Liberals.
Let’s try that again.
The purpose of the Christian Democratic political movement is not to promote Christianity, or to promote or impose Christian teachings.
Bit of grossly oversimplified history first.
Prior to the French revolution, the Catholic church (and I think most Christian churches in Europe) explicity or implicitly endorsed the notion of monarchy as a divinely-ordained (or at least divinely-favoured) mode of civil government. Opposition to monarchy was generally associated, if not with opposition to religion, then with opposition to the church.
This polarisation survived the French revolution, with the result that in the 19th century many Christians, and especially many Catholics, were either disengaged from the political process, or participated only on the far right, promoting the increasing fringe cause of restoring powerful monarchies.
In the second half of the nineteenth century Catholic thinkers began to move beyond this. Christianity, and especially Catholicism, is an essentially communal religion, and many felt that for Catholics to disengage and marginalise themselves in this way from the political process was not right. If nothing else, it left the field clear for, and gave excessive influence to, those whose political philosophy was divorced from, or even hostile to, religious principles. At the same time, and probably for the same reason, we have the official Catholic Church putting more emphasis on social teaching – the application of Christian principles to social issues.
It’s in this context that Christian democracy evolves. It’s not an attempt to promote or impose Christianity, but rather an attempt to construct a social and political philosophy on Christian values.
For a long time it’s a pretty academic exercise, and if there are Christian democratic political parties they don’t make much of an impact.
It doesn’t really take off until after the Second World War. There’s a widespread feeling that prewar political institutions and movements were shown to be badly wanting because they had no adequate answer to the rise of fascism and Nazism. Fascists and nazis had, to some extent, used liberal political institutions, and co-opted liberal or at least secular political movements, to dominate the state and turn it into something horrible and destructive. Christian democracy looked like an alternative politics which would be founded on a strong ethical and moral base which (hopefully) would be more resistant to such a development.
It’s no coincidence, then, that Christian Democracy is strongest in Germany and Italy. It’s not “Christian” in an exclusive sense; it’s perfectly possible to be an agnostic or an atheist or to profess a non-Christian religion, and to be a supporter or member of a Christian Democratic party. Though the Christian Democratic movement is heterogeneous, it agrees generally on certain topics. It favours a decentralised model of the state, preferring where appopriate a federal political structure, a recognisition that the state is not the only or the most appropriate body in the community to deal with every matter, and a commitment to “subsidiarity”; the principle that decisions should be made at the lowest appropriate level, rather than the highest. Christian Democracy sees the economy as being at the service of humanity; it does not call capitalism inot question, but has a greater tendency to interven in markets than a classic liberal would do. The duty of care of the State is of some importance for Christian Democrats. Christian Democrats generally advocate the separation of church and state, and usually have no problem accepting divorce, although abortion is a difficult issue. They have no problem allying with Social Democratics, Conservations and Liberals, as circumstances warrant.
I was just going to say that the “Christian Democratic” parties in Europe probably arose as a counter to the secularist, fascist & Communist parties. UDS did a totally great job explaining things.
According to Walker Percy’s LOVE IN THE RUINS, in the early 1970s, the Republican Party re-named itself the Christian Conservative Constitutionalist Party. A commentator noted the CCCP logo, resembling the Soviet logo, was the most “knotheaded” political move of the time. Thus, the CCCP took up the name “Knotheads”. Alternately, the Democratic Party took up the name the Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, The Pill, Atheism, Pot, Anti-Pollution, Sex, Abortion Now, Euthanasia Party, aka the LEFTPAPASANE Party aka the LEFT Party.