In this compelling book, Fr. Himes argues that politics and religion are matters too important to be left to politicians and religious leaders. More significant than electoral campaigns and government, church-state relations are about "how we ought to live together, how we should organize and govern our common life." Politics and the political choices we make must be "guided by considerations of national and global justice and peace and, for Christians, by the teachings of Jesus," as interpreted by tradition.
After an introduction to clarify terminology, Himes presents the history of church-state relations in three parts: Biblical Perspectives, Historical Perspectives, and Contemporary Perspectives. Readers are led from the teachings of the Old and New Testaments through the patristic and medieval eras and the age of reform to the age of revolution, and throughout the twentieth century into the third millennium. He takes on questions of the role of the church in politics, responsible voting, concerns of globalization, and issues of human rights and war and peace. Classroom-friendly, each of eleven chapters includes discussion questions and suggested readings.