Chapter

God before Country?

in Making Patriots

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780226044378
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226044514 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226044514.003.0003
God before Country?

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This chapter compares the role of Christianity in medieval Europe and modern American society, and its effect on citizenship in Western Europe. The advent of Christianity in Europe separated the spiritual from the temporal. Jesus not only provided the basis for the subsequent separation of the church and state, but even before the advent of the liberal state, made it impossible for a Christian to be a patriotic citizen in the classical sense. Jesus envisioned many kingdoms and one church, but after the Reformation, there were as many churches as there were kingdoms, and in some kingdoms such as Great Britain, there was one established church, but many types of Christians. All Christians, all patriots willing to give their lives for their country, were unable to agree as to who was authorized to speak for that country. Two powers, two sovereigns, and a never-ending dispute over jurisdiction, made a sound constitution impossible in a Christian state.

Keywords: Europe; Christianity; Reformation; patriotic citizen

Chapter.  7579 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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