Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Facebook Exchange About Why I Call Myself An Augustinian Democrat

A while back a Thai friend of mine asked me why I call myself an Augustinian Democrat. This is my response to her:

I'm so sorry for taking so long to get back to you about your question. I don't mind answering at all. It's an unusual combination of terms to be sure. Typically if someone is Augustinian then they're more likely to be conservative in their theology and also their politics. I use the term Augustinian to describe my view of our fallen nature as humans and also to describe God's sovereign hand in all of our affairs. Therefore every human institution is broken by sin and in need of reform and restoration, whether private or public.

I use the term Democrat afterward to describe my belief in equality between all people, regardless of race, creed, sex, or culture. I'm pretty strongly egalitarian in my views. So in combining those two terms, Augustinian and Democrat, I'm affirming that every human institution is in need of reforming and oversight. Thus at times I'll end up sounding quite liberal on some (well, many really) issues, and will also be very conservative on others. As I say on a political blog I belong to, I hope I can transcend the left/right divide. And it's my Christian convictions that lead to this point.

I'm so glad you asked, because it helped me to better explain why I use that combination of terms to describe my political beliefs.


Jordan said...

So Republicans don't believe in equality? Can you flesh out the Democrat = equality a bit more and maybe give an example or two?

Irenicum said...

Jordan, I'm not saying Republicans don't believe in equality. I've been a Republican myself. But since I am quite egalitarian in my views the term Democrat is more fitting than using Republican. Though I would say that the classical use of the term Republican is one I'm very comfortable with. I'm just not comfortable with the connotations that goes with the modern GOP. To be honest, neither party suits me well.

sattler said...

I'm no Augustinian and certainly no consverative. I suppose I've become wary of labels - the games we play with identity. Pehaps I would be happy enough with Neo-Anabaptist. A good deal of energy goes into defining who we are in postmodernity. Maybe it's a counterweight to our sense of cultural loss and homelessness. The advent of Post-Christendom gives Christians even more reason to explore new identities. From talking a great deal to North American friends I can see that the atmosphere is different in the U.S. and the UK but I suspect it's only a matter of time before the secularization that's typical here catches us with North American culture. For us it's been painful - we've said goodbye to a great many precious things. But there are also opportunities. Our identities have become more portable but the journey is also lifegiving.

Thankyou for your reflections. I thoroughly enjoyed your blog and look forward to keeping in touch from time to time. Shalom, phil