At a time of outspoken nationalism, Christian realism accurately diagnoses idolatry of the state as a political and theological problem. The power of sovereign states protects self-determination but can allow states to unjustly oppress members of minority groups. From a Christian realist perspective, states’ power relative to other institutions can encourage religious idolatry, with citizens devoting their ultimate loyalty to a state. To mitigate this problem, Christian realism argues for recognition of states’ limitations. However, Christian realism itself remains beholden to a notion of states’ sovereign agency rooted in an incomplete picture of human nature. Recent feminist and postcolonial scholarship on human relationality shows how state sovereignty and agency are modified by relationships within networks of local, national, and global institutions. This analysis enriches Christian realist critiques of idolatry of the state. It argues for recognition of the role of grassroots communities and enhanced cooperation among states and other institutions.
Alexander, L.E. (2021, March 17). Christian realism and the State as idol: Feminist and postcolonial critique and Christian realist theology in and interdependent world. Political Theology, 22(8), 680-698. https://doi-org.leo.lib.unomaha.edu/10.1080/1462317X.2021.1893958
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