Democracy and the Christian tradition

John Anderson

in Christianity and Democratisation

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780719077388
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702000 | DOI:
Democracy and the Christian tradition

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This chapter covers the advent of Christianity. Particular emphasis is placed on the real and imagined Protestant contribution to the evolution of democratic politics; the post-revolutionary Roman Catholic reaction and opposition to democracy; and the mid-twentieth-century Vatican conversion to the merits of democracy. One of the products of the Reformation was religious fragmentation. The debates of significance for future democratic development are explained. Religion plays a key role in ensuring the survival of the young republic and the maintenance of a civil polity. The Christian Church tends to lose sight of its original egalitarian impulses and to take on board the hierarchical and monarchical characteristics of the temporal order with which it has co-existed and which it has come to legitimate. The Catholic Church in many developing countries has shifted its position from defender of authoritarian rule to promoter of human rights and democracy.

Keywords: Christianity; Protestant; democratic politics; Roman Catholic; democracy; Reformation; civil polity; Christian Church; Catholic Church

Chapter.  10625 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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