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Promoting Christianity-- or something else

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Aug 09, 2004

The Los Angeles Times, on the news that Alan Keyes will join the Senate contest in Illinois:

"We do face an uphill battle, there's no doubt," said Keyes, 54, who promotes a Christian philosophy.
What do you call someone who "promotes a Christian philosophy?" That's easy. You call him a Christian.

But the overwhelming majority of candidates for public office in American identify themselves as Christians. Do they all "promote a Christian philosophy?" Apparently not; otherwise journalists wouldn't use that phrase to describe one particular candidate.

But if the allegedly Christian candidates are not promoting a Christian philosophy, what are they promoting?

Something distinct from Christianity? That could be all right, at least in theory. Shoes are distinct from Christianity, and there's nothing wrong with selling shoes.

But suppose they're promoting at odds with Christianity? What do you call someone who "promote an anti-Christian philosophy? That's open to discussion, but one thing you don't call him is a Christian.

Which is why it's not merely an academic discussion when we argue about whether politicians who promote abortion, homosexuality, and euthanasia are in communion with the Catholic Church.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: - Aug. 10, 2004 11:24 PM ET USA

    As an Illinoisan, Keyes aside, I can say without doubt that the Republican party has been a joke in Illinois for decades. However, more to the point, Frank Sheed used to have conversations with college students which went something like the following. How many of you are fans of (say) Hemmingway? (Several hands go up). How many of you have read his novels? (Several hands go up). How many of you are Christians? (All hands go up). How many of you have read His books -- the Gospels? (No hands)

  • Posted by: Cantor Rich - Aug. 10, 2004 2:01 AM ET USA

    May we all thank our Lord God that Alan Keyes promotes a Christian philosophy. In my 'umble opinion, our country missed the boat when the GOP powers-that-be selected G.W. in 2000, and Amb Keyes wasn't given the opportunity to run in an un-rigged primary season. Not that Dubya has done such a bad job, but one wonders what a Keyes Administration would have done for life and faith issues in this USA of ours.