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Caesar & Conscience

Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon

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Long accustomed to the thesis that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, it is not easy for Americans to think that governments may also speak with a higher authority. Indeed, the "consent of the governed" is so commonly withheld these days that it may pass as part of our birthright.

For the same reason, it is difficult for Americans to believe that the art of government has any necessary relationship to a higher order at all, such as the order of the moral law. So clearly have we come to distinguish legal concerns from moral concerns that a real separation of the two is pretty much taken for granted. Anyone today who says that "you can't legislate morality" is understood to be voicing a truism.

We may seem terribly bold, therefore, when we say that we politely disagree with this perspective. We do so, nonetheless, and we do so for the sake of what the Bible tells us.

Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and a Senior Editor of Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity.

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Read the entire article on the Touchstone Magazine website.

Posted: 5/1/04



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