T.S. Eliot on a Christian State

An interesting observation from Eliot on questions about relations between Church and State:

A usual attitude is to take for granted the existing State, and ask “What Church?” But before we consider what should be the relation of Church and State, we should first ask: “What State?” Is there any sense in which we can speak of a “Christian State,” any sense in which the State can be regarded as Christian? for even if the nature of the State be such, that we cannot speak of it in its Idea as either Christian or non-Christian, yet it is obvious that actual States may vary to such an extent that the relation of the Church to the State may be anything from overt hostility to a more or less harmonious cooperation of different institutions in the same society. What I mean by the Christian State is not any particular political form, but whatever State is suitable to a Christian Society, whatever State a particular Christian Society develops for itself.:”(T.S. Eliot, “The Idea of a Christian Society,” in Christianity and Culture: The Idea of a Christian Society AND Notes Toward the Definition of Culture [New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1968], pp. 8-9)”:

On a related theme, the dominance in our day of an increasingly non-Christian culture, Eliot writes:

I am not concerned with the problem of Christians as a persecuted minority. When the Christian is treated as an enemy of the State, his course is very much harder, but it is simpler. I am concerned with the dangers to the tolerated minority; and in the modern world, it may turn out that the most tolerable thing for Christians is to be tolerated.:”(Ibid., 18.)”:

This entry was posted in Christian Culture. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.