Author
Wayne R. Barnes

Citation
Wayne R. Barnes, The Paradox of Christian-Based Political Advocacy: A Reply to Professor Calhoun, 74 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. Online 489 (2018).

Published
October 4, 2018

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Professor Calhoun, in his Article around which this

symposium is based, has asserted that it is permissible for citizens

to publicly argue for laws or public policy solutions based on

explicitly religious reasons. Calhoun candidly admits that he has

“long grappled” with this question (as have I, though he for longer),

and, in probably the biggest understatement in this entire

symposium, notes that Professor Kent Greenawalt identified this

as “a particularly significant, debatable, and highly complex

problem.” Is it ever. I have a position that I will advance in this

article, but I wish to acknowledge at the outset that this is a

difficult and complicated issue. It intersects with issues of

constitutional law, theology, political theory, jurisprudence,

philosophy, law and morality—and that’s just off the top of my

head. As soon as one issue is addressed, twelve others raise their

head and confound. I am also mindful that Professor Calhoun has

been grappling with this issue for far longer than I have. I respect

him and his thoughtful treatment of this issue immensely. Part of

my trepidation in addressing this subject is that, as will be seen in

this response, Professor Calhoun once held a very similar opinion

on this issue as me. However, he has evolved beyond it, whereas

I (to date) have not. The structure of this online symposium is that

Professor Calhoun will have a chance to respond in writing to the

points I make in this Article, and I will then have the opportunity

to reflect and respond to his reply. I look forward to the exchange,

and I know that I will be enriched for having participated in the

dialogue.