Monday, February 28, 2011

Something worth doing is worth doing poorly

An interview with Peter Wehner, co-author of a recent book about Christian and politics is available at the Evangel blog at First Things. The first and last questions and answers from a much longer exchange:
Gayle Trotter: This is Gayle Trotter. I’m with Peter Wehner, author of City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era. When I was an undergraduate government student at UVA, one famous professor, Larry Sabato, adopted the slogan, “Politics is a good thing.” Is your slogan, “Politics is a good thing for Christians?”

Peter Wehner: Yeah, it’s a good thing for Christians with caveats. [Co-author] Mike [Gerson] and I argue in the book that Christians should care about politics because politics in its deepest and best sense is about justice and Christians should care about justice. And political acts can have profound human consequences and Christians should care about that, too. So as a general matter we think that that’s an arena that Christians should be involved in but it’s an arena that’s filled with traps and snares as well. ....

GT: In the book you give us three concluding propositions and one of them I just love because you had a G.K. Chesterton quote and I think he’s great; the quote is, “Even a bad shot is dignified when he accepts a duel.” What did you mean by that quote?

PW: Well, that was in the context of the complaints by people like Jim Hunter that Christians have often done politics poorly. But we say so did other people in the democracy and the answer is to do politics better, that political engagement isn’t a luxury and I think the way we put it in the book is, “The fighting of raging fires requires not contemplation but a fire extinguisher. Urgency can involve errors but these should be admitted and corrected. But, as Chesterton said, ‘Even a bad shot is dignified when he accepts a duel.’” .... [more]
Peter Wehner Discusses the City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era » Evangel | A First Things Blog