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By Richard John Neuhaus

Christians are through their nature a humans misplaced. Their precise house is with God; in civic existence, they're alien electorate “in yet no longer of the world.” In American Babylon, eminent theologian Richard John Neuhaus examines the actual fact of that ambiguity for Catholics in the US today.Neuhaus addresses the basic quandaries of Catholic life—assessing how Catholics can preserve their heads above water within the sea of immorality that confronts them on the earth, how they are often patriotic even supposing their actual kingdom isn't really during this global, and the way they could reconcile their tasks as electorate with their dedication to God. Deeply discovered, often combative, and continuously eloquent, American Babylon is Neuhaus’s magnum opus—and should be crucial analyzing for all Christians.

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Nor does it mean that we are immune to the temptations and tragedies of all earthly orders. To say that we are a nation under God is to say, first and most importantly, that we are a nation under transcendent judgment. Judgment and promise are inseparable. People speak of a “critical patriotism,” and certainly patriotism should not be unthinking. But with critical patriotism it sometimes seems that the adjective overwhelms the noun. The result is a contingent devotion— devotion to one’s country if only one’s country were a different country than it is—which is no patriotism at all.

Exaggerated patriotism is checked and tempered by the awareness that, while this is a homeland, it is, at the same time, a foreign country. All that having been said, however, it is not just one foreign country among others. qxd 1/9/09 1:15 PM Page 50 American Babylon presidency, that America’s story is caught up in the “comprehensive account” of the story of the world. There was another theologian who was writing at the same time as Reinhold Niebuhr and who has an important place among those who have thought deeply about the American experiment.

He had the greatest admiration for the American founders, and admired most of all what he viewed as the modesty of their intention. ” Unlike Richard Rorty and many others, America was not his religion. He never confused America with the Church. As a Catholic, he already had a Church that claimed his prior allegiance. The Church is universal—as in catholic—and has centuries of experience with nations and political orders of all varieties, including nations with universal aspirations that compete for that prior allegiance.

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