Conscience and the Public Square: Does God Take Sides?

During 1998—ever to be remembered as the year of the Clinton sex-and-lies scandal—not once did my wife and I hear a reference to Mr. Clinton’s troubles from the pulpit of our Catholic Church in Olney, Maryland. Our experience in this suburban Catholic parish less than an hour’s drive from the nation’s capital provided an interesting prism through which to view the relation of religion to politics in America. The attitudes toward politics and religion among the priests and the people at St. Peter’s seemed different from, and perhaps healthier than, the views now so prevalent in the national debate.