Robert Peter George — Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. This man is named by the newspaper The New York Times «the most influential conservative Christian thinker" and "one of the most respected theoreticians of law in the United States." Political analysts and commentators see the United States and Britain in RP George one of the key figures for the understanding of the recent decades, "the conservative counter-revolution" in America.
Interview with Terra America
— We know that many members of the American political elite belong to one or another world religion. Those who do not associate themselves with any religion, are in the minority. However, many prominent American politicians, for example, those who are part of the Democratic party, share views on secular education, sexuality, etc. In your opinion, how they manage to combine Christian and secular ideals Peer? Are these two systems do not contradict each other sometimes?
— Your words, no doubt, describe the true American politicians. Almost every one of them belongs to a religious denomination, and considers himself a believer. Well, most Americans are religious and believe faith an important part of life, and it is understood even by those politicians whose religion is not entirely sincere. However, religious belief and belonging to a particular faith is not so important for other elites in American society. For example, much less religiosity expressed professors (and more generally the class of intellectuals), representatives of the media and those who work in the entertainment industry. The same can be said of many other influential members of the highly prestigious professions.
But back to the politicians. It is impossible not to recognize the fact that in the event of a conflict between the traditional Judeo-Christian teachings and secular liberal views on marriage and sexual ethics, as well as the value of human life and other moral issues, the Democratic Party, like the vast majority of Democrats in positions of national and state level — including Barack Obama — a positive attitude toward the liberal secularism. The reverse was observed recently — in 1968. Since then, however, there have been gradual changes. Now it is impossible to take an important government post at the national level and in many states and any elective post without acknowledging the liberal secular values in the key moral and ethical issues.
And in many cases, this means a departure from the values that are held by traditional religions (eg, Catholicism). Some Democrats have found a way around the problem of their own religion, saying that they "personally against" in order to commit the murder of unborn children through abortion, and at the same time they support laws that legalize such operations. They are even willing to allocate budget money for abortions! All this seems very doubtful. The most notable example of such behavior — Vice President Joe Biden, who openly declares himself as a devotee of Catholics, fully accepting the position of the Church on abortion, but who "refrain from imposing their views" and therefore opposed the ban on abortion.
However, as one Catholic priest, Biden is not entirely understood correctly, or perhaps even distort the position of the Catholic Church, according to which, every person, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, finally, age has an equal right to life, and it should be protected by law. Thus, Biden's statement that he respects the teachings of the church loses all inclusive.
— Can we say that in the U.S. there is such thing as a left or religious "liberal Christianity"? And if so, when do you think that was formed this phenomenon? Who among intellectuals and scholars is supported in the U.S. and Europe? How influential in American politics enlightened agnosticism and other forms of non-traditional, such as the New Age movement? As far as they affect the liberalization of public opinion?
— At one time, the U.S. was a very influential religious left wing. It's gone, it destroyed the left secularists who are in positions unacceptable to all Christians, unless the latter taking seriously the biblical morality and are at odds with common sense. The right to an abortion — an example of the series.
Another example is the redefinition of the concept of marriage, which has now lost its usual sense. Some Christian pastors just moved to the left position, capitulating to the advancing secularisation. In practice, they often are "priests of the altar before the cold, lost faith, but kept their jobs." Other remaining positions on the left, tried to keep the Christian principles of morality, rejected by supporters of the secular point of view, but these people do not have serious political influence.
Conservative on social issues believers for the most part moved to the right camp. Personally, I'm one of those people, as well as the late Richard John Neuhaus.
The flowering left religiosity occurred in the period between 1940 E and 1960s, when the struggle for civil rights, and continued in the 1960s and early 1970s against the backdrop of protests against the Vietnam War. Civil rights, opposition to the war and calls for the state to fight poverty — all these were the noble aspirations that could enthusiastically put into practice without compromising the principles of the Christian faith.
In fact, if you think about it, what could be more deserving of all, it is harmony with the Christian faith, they do not fight for equal rights for different races to end the war, which seems pointless and unjustified, for the deliverance of the people from deprivation and poverty! In those years, the alliance between the religious and the secular left-wing circles did not represent much of a problem for believers. But today things have changed. Today on abortion, marriage and other moral and sensitive social issues in leftist circles completely dominated by secularists. Religious people who hold left-wing views, either have to agree with them or remain silent.
As for the New Age movement, its influence on policy is negligible. A much more significant impact on the policy of the ideology of individualism. The main element of this ideology is the notion that the implementation of all human desires, as well as searching for ways to meet them, should not be limited to traditional moral norms. According to the secular setting, these rules only prevent personal fulfillment and comprehensive free expression. Government policies should not interfere with this expression, except in cases where such expression can hurt other people.
In this case, the "other" on the left are understood as those that have civil rights — they are called "persons" and "rights holders". It turns out a kind of "optional" government policy: it should help the "owners" in their "lifestyle choices", "contribute" to their happiness, including through the provision of contraception, abortion and payment etc.
— How true the statement that the United States absorbed the spirit of the 60's, as a result, we are seeing something of a renaissance, or the second coming of such ideas?
— The United States is really absorbed the spirit of the counterculture of the '60s. Its influence has undergone and the elite, and the entire American culture in general. Pornography, promiscuity, drug use, sexual activity and cohabitation without marriage bond, children born outside of marriage, and the like are much more common today than before the beginning of the 60s. The principles of the expression "self-identity" have replaced the rules of the Judeo-Christian morality, not only among intellectuals, university campuses and in the entertainment business. The changes were much wider circles of society.
— To what extent does the fact of being Obama's presidency can be seen as a victory for the spirit of the 60's? How significant is this victory?
— The Obama administration and in fact is an almost perfect embodiment of the spirit of the 60's. The further spread of this spirit oppose the religious right and social conservatives. In alliance with the act and the economic liberals who reject statism.
— How influential religious right in the United States today? Which denominations and religious groups are actively participating in the movement conservatives? Can we say that the two ideological camps — left and right — are "sectarian" phenomenon? Does this mean that blurs the boundaries of theological and canonical character?
— The religious right has a significant impact on the conservative movement and the Republican Party in the United States. Today you can not become a conservative candidate, not speaking from the perspective of the protection of life (pro—life, that is, for a ban on abortion — Ed.) and traditional marriage. Although the next national conference will attempt to weaken the position of the majority party on the issue of marriage, I predict that this attempt is unsuccessful.
The conservative religious movement is a coalition of Catholics, evangelical Protestants, Orthodox Christians, Mormons, and Orthodox Jews. They teamed up to work together to protect the sanctity of human life, marriage and family. They stand guard over their doctrines and do not attempt to blur the boundaries of certain theological differences, but at the same time, they do not allow differences of Peer prevent joint action in defense of the common religious values and moral beliefs. This coalition is now began to attract the attention of Muslims, but many Muslims in America, despite its conservative Look closely at the social system and do not feel comfortable in alliance with other religious conservatives. I believe that this wine rather conservative Christians than Muslims.
The fact is that too many Christian conservatives criticize Islam as a whole, not seeing the differences between terrorists, Islamic extremists and ordinary Muslims who want the same for their children, and conservative Christians. As a result, Muslims are influenced by left-wing politicians whose moral beliefs are often far from the vital position of devout Muslims.
— There is a view that in the U.S. there is a separation of church and state, but there is no separation between state and religion. Do you think the events of the day can lead to clashes between people protesting the separation of church and state, and religious conservatives? Could this turn into a clash total rejection of Christian values in the United States?
— In the U.S., the church is separate from the state, and therefore no one takes political positions due to the location in religious circles, and naoboort. But our separation of church and state is not a separation of religion and public life. This is not secularism in French. Although it is not liked by many liberals, the religious point of view has a significant impact on society and public opinion. This influence played a major role in the struggle for civil rights and the fight against slavery.
Despite the fact that today a pronounced ideology of individualism is deeply rooted in the elite, but not all agree with it, and disagreement mainly comes from people who believe. These people do not need a theocracy or any other religious dictatorship in society. All they want is equal to the rights and opportunity to be heard. I believe that even the radical left-wing supporters are well aware that they can not make America is not a Christian country. Their strategy is likely only to minimize the influence of Christianity on society. Religion they are trying to present a purely private affair of people. And, alas, the most important advantage of the left-wing secularists is the simple fact that these people currently control the executive power.
See also: Patrick Joseph Buchanan. Death of the West