From many letters to The Guardian,1 and from much that is printed elsewhere, we learn of the growing desire for a Christian [political] ‘party’, a Christian ‘front’, or a Christian ‘platform’ in politics. Nothing is so earnestly to he wished as a real assault by Christianity on the politics of the world: nothing, at first sight, so fitted to deliver this assault as a Christian Party. But it is odd that certain difficulties in this programme should be already neglected while the printer’s ink is hardly dry on [Jacques] Maritain’s Scholasticism and Politics.2
The Christian Party must either confine itself to stating what ends are desirable and what means are lawful, or else it must go further and select from among the lawful means those which it deems possible and efficacious and give to these its practical support. If it chooses the first alternative, it will not be a political party. Nearly all parties agree in professing ends which we admit to be desirable security, a living wage, and the best adjustment between the claims of order and freedom. What distinguishes one party from another is the championship of means. We do not dispute whether the citizens are to be made happy, but whether an egalitarian or a hierarchical State, whether capitalism or socialism, whether despotism or democracy is most likely to make them so.
1The Guardian was a weekly Anglican newspaper founded in 1846 to uphold Tractarian principles, and to show their relevance to the best secular thought of the day.
2Jacques Maritain, Scholasticism and Politics, trans. M. J. Adler (London, 1950).
C.S. Lewis, “Meditation on the Third Commandment,” God in the Dock (Eerdmans: 1970) 196-197.