Who is Hunter?
Hunter began his career at Westmont College as an Assistant Professor of Sociology from 1982-1983.
He then moved to the University of Virginia, where he taught as an Assistant Professor of Sociology from 1983 to 1989. He then became a Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies from 1989 to 1994.
He held the position of Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies William R. Kenan from 1994 to 2003, before becoming a Labrosse-Levinson Distinguished Professor of Religion, Culture and Theory of Sociology with appointments in the Department of Sociology and the Department of Religious Studies . Since 1995 he has also served as Executive Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture of the university.
In 2004, the White House nominated Hunter to be part of the National Council of the National Foundation of the Humanities, a position he has held since his confirmation by the Senate. He has also served on boards of directors for Pew Charitable Trusts and the National Civic Renewal Commission. Since 2011, James D. Hunter has been a member of the Peace Research Endowment board.
As of 2010 Hunter had written eight books and edited another three. His author books include Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America (1991), which describes a battle for control of American culture and social institutions fought between conservative religious groups (Protestants, Catholics, and Jews) and their politically progressive counterparts. In 2005, Hunter won the Richard M. Weaver Award for Academic Letters.
James Davison Hunter talked about this notion of confrontation
The church, since it exists within the wide range of vocations
Individuals in all spheres of social life (commerce, philanthropy, education, etc.) must be present in the world of ways that serve the constructive subversion of the entire infrastructure of social life incompatible with the shalom to the one we were created and for which we were called. Like a natural expression of his passion to honor God in all things and love our neighbor as ourselves, the church will defy all structures that dishonor God, dehumanize to people and neglect or hurt creation. Pg 235.
To change the world is a much welcome effort to think seriously about religion and public life, church and state, spirituality and secular culture in the United State. Hunter is a confessing Christian, an extended meditation upon tree crucial issues facing contemporary Christianity.
Who controls American culture and How?
What has been the effect of politicizing religion?
What should be the stance of a committed Christian to the contemporary “world”?
We have faith in public life.
In other words, we have faith in the positive and significant role that faith should play in public life, and we have faith that public life will support justice and the common good. We believe the positive role for faith in public life is fulfilled when:
- Religious voices for justice and the common good impact public discourse and policies; and
- Those who use religion as a tool of division and exclusion do not dominate public debate.
- Faithful contributions to public life should not, and need not, violate America’s central tenet of separation of church and state.
What, then, does Faith in Public Life understand by the “social justice faith movement?”
I was reading this article by Stephanie Block and I think it echoes to what Hunters are saying
Faith in Public Life first explains what the movement isn’t: it isn’t addressing what it dubs the “Religious Right’s” issues of abortion and homosexuality. Faith in Public Life issues, by contrast, are “social and economic justice.”
Now, one might think we’re talking compatible and complementary concerns as if the politics of the right is exclusively concerned with the protection of vulnerable human life while the politics of the left is concerned about a high standard of living for all. If that were the case, right and left are allies – not enemies. Both would be working toward the common good.
Now, looking at the world is suffering because there are many things that are objectively contrary to the Gospel. The three great virtues, faith, hope, and charity, which make us enjoy, make us suffer, especially charity.
How can we fix this?
We live in a society that we don’t like, at least, we don’t like it at all. Look where we look, we see that there is much to be redeemed: much to clean, much to change, much to clean up. There is the world of childhood, of youth, of married life, of old age, the world of education, of politics, of family, etc., all of them with immense sectors of baptized, heartless, living on their backs. to the Gospel, producing, consequently, fruits of death. It is not necessary to provide data. Given the current state of affairs there is an inevitable question, which Christians have been repeating since the day of Pentecost: “What do we have to do, brothers?”, asks that by doing it today, in its social dimension, it could be translated by this other: how to fix this?
Hunter, James Davison. To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
https://search-proquest com.georgefox.idm.oclc.org/docview/871163935?rfr_id=info%3Axri%2Fsid%3Aprimo accessed 2-17-2020
https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=7707 accessed 2-17-2020