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Protestantism-Mr. Hertz

Reader comment on item: Secularism - Will It Survive?
in response to reader comment: Secularism foredooms itself.

Submitted by Tom Martinez (Ireland), Mar 21, 2006 at 11:21

Mr. Hertz,

further to your position regarding the Christian character of the US, could you clarify something please. Do you advocate that US civil society regenerate itself as a Protestant experiment under a non-confessional state? If so, please bear in mind the fate of the Dutch Republic, that harbinger of personal-but-not-private religious observance, that beacon of individual freedom, personal thrift and capitalist endeavour before seeing in such a piety the model for Christendom recovered on North American soil.

The Netherlands today dabbles in euthanasia,abortion, recreational drug use, tolerance of homsexuality, consideration of eugenics and a general laissez fair attitude to social mores... anathaema to the Christian Right of the US. Whence this corruption? Not some flirtation with Marxism- a heresy of Catholic/Orthodox dogmae- but rather the phenomenon of Protestantism, borne of subjective enquiry. The societies of Northern Europe, Britain included, boast higher rates of suicide, marital breakdown and teen pregnancy than the lapsed Catholic societies of the South. Indeed it is in these southern societies that "family values" prevail without the necessity of social engineering by political factions eager to stoke up sectarianism, as presently occurs in the US,.. a continuance of the Greco-Roman culture that did more to endow Christendom with its institutions than did the Judaeic inspired spirituality and scripture.

Moreover, one can see the presence of pluralism in the personal as well as the public sphere in countries such as Spain, where I live. The acceptance of the ambiguity, the resignation to the imperfectabilty of man and the inevitable corruption of the institutions that surround him (one might call that fatalism) that reluctance to obsess over scripture that the anal retentive Martin Luther would have done well to heed, is what makes this society classically conservative and binds it together. It is this fusion of Greco-Roman polytheism and Judaeic monotheism that remains intact and innoculates our peoples to the temptation of the absolute and to seeking an ever more refined monotheism, closer to Judaeism and Islam that to Christianity.

Thus we truly live in Christendom even if we no longer attend church. It is the fate of all Protestant societies to end up with such a divided sense of piety. That the US should end up imitating certain decadent Northern European practices is entirely because of its Protestantism rather than some wavering in its adherence to it.

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