Reflection on Protestant Political Theology

In January, at both his inaugural and his State of the Union addresses, President Bush crafted an ambitious domestic and foreign policy agenda. You are used to hearing political and cultural critiques of such policies from the contemporary right and left. But the Reformations in sixteenth century Europe were a set of fundamentally theological critiques and proposals, not just for the life
of the church, but also for the conduct of all of society. I would like to refresh your ability to engage civil matters from truly theological perspectives centered on the implications of the good news of Jesus Christ rather than the ideological (and often utilitarian) perspectives our culture encourages.

Your assignment is to craft a theological response (drawing on George, Matheson, and the readings in Hillerbrand) to President Bush's 2005 proposals from any two or more of the Protestant traditions we have already covered (Lutheran, 'Anabaptist', Zwinglian/Calvinist).

You may wish to personify characters from each of the traditions you choose and write from their perspectives (perhaps in a talk-show format?), but the format is up to you. Once again, if you adopt such a format you may include footnotes or bracketed comments to me that are not part of the actual text.

The 2005 State of the Union address (the more important of the two) is here; the inaugural address is here.

I do not particularly care whether your responses are conservative, moderate, liberal, or progressive in the conventional public senses of these words. I do not care whether they are supportive or antagonistic of the Bush Administration (though I do hope they are hospitable in tone). What I want to see are truly theological engagements with the current direction of American politics from these traditions.

Please keep your work 3-4 pages, double-spaced, and follow the directions in my handout for writing papers. Remember, I want to see proper style, clear writing, a thorough answer to the question, and explicit citations of course materials.

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