Chuck Colson

Wrong. Faith guides and often transcends intellect and reason, but it does not require its suspension. Is the governor really suggesting that St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, and John Paul II suspended their intellect? Has he forgotten that the university system was created by the church?

The greatest irony of the governor?s invocation of Lincoln is that there was no ?consensus view of right and wrong? regarding slavery. Slavery ended despite the lack a consensus because people whose faith taught them that the status quo was wrong set out to change it. They learned to express their convictions in terms that people of different faiths, or no faith, could understand. What they did not do was wait until everyone agreed with them.

Much the same can be said of the Civil Rights movement. When Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote his Letter from Birmingham Jail, he invoked Augustine and Aquinas in support of defying an unjust law.

So why should contemporary religiously inspired concerns be held to a different standard, as people are trying to do today? Our sixteenth president, for one, would have found the idea astonishing.

For further reading and information:

Governor Mario Cuomo, ?Religious Belief and Public Morality: A Catholic Governor?s Perspective,? Remarks delivered at Notre Dame University, 13 September 1984. (Courtesy of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.)

See also the transcript of the Pew Forum event, ?Religion on the Stump: Politics and Faith in America,? 2 October 2002.

Roberto Rivera y Carlo, ?First Things First: Voting and the Sanctity of Life,? Boundless, 2 September 2004.

See the ?Worldview for Parents? pages, ?America?s Religious Roots? and ?The First Liberty.?

BreakPoint Commentary No. 030212, ?Strength for Anxious Days: Lincoln?s Spiritual Leadership.?

BreakPoint Commentary No. 030922, ?Sorely Needed Wisdom: Wrestling with Genesis.?

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 16 April 1963.

Arthur F. Holmes, ?Wanted: Christian Scholars!? BreakPoint WorldView, July/August 2003.

Nigel M. de S. Cameron, God and Caesar: The Logic of Christian Political Responsibility, The Wilberforce Forum.

Ted Olsen, ?Weblog: Is the Republican Convention More Secular Than the Democratic One Was?? Christianity Today, 1 September 2004.

Chuck Colson

Chuck Colson was the Chief Counsel for Richard Nixon and served time in prison for Watergate-related charges. In 1976, Colson founded Prison Fellowship Ministries, which, in collaboration with churches of all confessions and denominations, has become the world's largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners, crime victims, and their families.
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