40 I CHRONICLESnOn the level of polity, these differencesnin tone and tendency became muchnmore important. Luther was relativelynindifferent to questions of churchnorder because he knew how easilynecclesiastical propriety became spiritualnpride. Calvin acknowledged thensame reality, yet poured great energiesninto creating a truly godly church.nLuther counseled restraint in politics.nIt was better to suffer injustice from thenstate than to allow passion for politicalnreform to obscure the desperate conditionnof every human (ruler or ruled,ntyrant or reformer) before the righteousnessnof God. Calvin never abandonednthe centrality of Jesus (it wasnCalvin who popularized the picture ofnChrist as prophet, priest, and king).nBut the reform of politics was an activitynthat Christians, grateful to God fornthe gift of salvation, should pursue asnpart of the drive for holiness.nFor American culture, it has madenall the difference that Reformed rathernthan Lutheran attitudes have prevailed.nIn each of the three significantnperiods of American history—the colonialnunder the influence of the Puritans,nthe national under a more generallynevangelical influence, and thenmodern under the sway of the secularn—Reformed or Calvinistic patterns ofnculture formation have been the rule.nLike the early leaders of Calvinism onnthe Continent and the English Puritans,nAmericans have moved in anstraight line from personal belief tonsocial reform, from passion for Godnand the Bible (or later, science andntechnique) to passion for the renovationnof society, from private experiencento political activity. With only infrequentnexceptions, like Nathaniel Hawthornenin the 19th century and ReinholdnNiebuhr in the 20th, there hasnbeen no “Lutheran irony” in America,nno sense that precisely in our mostnvaliant public efforts for God we runnthe risk of substituting our righteousnessnfor the righteousness of Christnthat arises only by faith, independentiynof works.nReformed attitudes toward life innthe world have had an immense effectnon American history. Calvinistic convictionsnabout living all of life for thenglory of God led to the remarkablenexperiment of 17th-century New Englandnwhere Puritans created the freest,nmost stable, most democratic soci­nety then existing on earth. In the 18thncentury the Puritan passion for publicnjustice provided, if not the specificnideology, at least much of the energynfor the American Revolution and thencreation of a new nation. During thenI9th century, Protestantism fueled immensenlabors of Christianization andncivilization—subduing a continent,ndemocratizing a people, evangelizingnat home through revival and abroadnthrough missions, reforming institutions,nattitudes, habits, and socialnpractices, and surviving a civil war thatnended with the prohibition of slavery.nThe encroachments of secularismnon this Reformed legacy have changednthe substance but not the form ofnpublic activity. When Science replacednScripture and Progress elbowednGod aside, the goals remained thensame—all of life must still be reformed.nOnly the agency was different.nIt might be Education, opened to all asna means for solving the nation’s problems.nIt might be Science and Know-nHow—the Form and Demiurge ofnmodernity. Most typically, the newngod has been government. With Democratsnwho favored social legislation ornRepublicans who favored defense,nonly bigger was better. While modernnAmericans may differ in nearly everynparticular from their Puritan and evangelicalnancestors, they still are deeplyncommitted to working out their salvation,nand the salvation of everyonenelse, through the control of public life.nIt has been encouraging recenfly tonsee increasingly serious discussion ofnReformed patterns of political involvementnin contemporary America. Thendiscussion needs to be sophisticatednbecause the phenomenon is complex.nNow at work in the “public square” arenseveral groups whose purposes overlapnand clash at a number of points. Therenare Christians who seek self-consciouslynto recapture earlier patterns ofnreligious influence; anti- or a-religiousnpeople who want to order public life byn”enlightened,” scientific, or secularngoals; religious people (sometimesnProtestant, but more often Catholic,nJewish, or members of other faiths)nwho want morality in public life butnnot traditional American Protestantism;nand, drawn from each of thenabove groups, significant numbersnwho take seriously the reality of America’snreligious, moral, and politicalnnnpluralism.nProminent in this recent discussionnhas been Pastor Richard Neuhaus,nwho has not only popularized a tellingnphrase with the title of his book, ThenNaked Public Square, but who also hasndone much to disentangle the knottynissues involved—through that book,nthrough other writings, and throughnhis direction of The Rockford Institute’snCenter on Religion & Society innNew York. Now as part of the work ofnthe Center, Eerdmans has begun tonpublish Neuhaus'”Encounter Series,”nwhich besides Unsecular America alsonincludes Virtue: Public and Privatenand Confession, Conflict, and Community.nThe format of these books is thensame. Neuhaus enlists several scholarsnto present papers on a central themenbefore a larger group of individualsnwho have some expertise in the subject.nA day or two of discussion takesnplace over these papers. Neuhaus andnhis assistant, the Rev. Paul Stallsworth,nthen edit the papers, summarize,nabridge, organize, and otherwisenclean up a transcript of the discussion,nand the whole is published.nThose who might have doubts aboutnthe format can rest easy. If UnsecularnAmerica is any indication, the processnworks. In this book the papers arenstimulating: the English journalistnPaul Johnson on the contribution ofnreligion to America’s self-identity; EverettnCarll Ladd of the Roper Centernon what public polling tells us aboutnthe religious beliefs of modern Americans;nGeorge Marsden of Duke Universitynasking the questions “Are Secularistsnthe Threat? Is Religion thenSolution?”; and Neuhaus himself onnthe critical role of religion for redefiningnthe meaning of modern America.nPapers by Marsden and Neuhausnamount to point and counterpoint.nThe authors do agree that a modernnsecularity which ignores or despisesnreligion harms society and betrays essentialnhuman nature. Marsden, however,nquestions the notion that a wellorganizednconspiracy of secular humanistsnhas been orchestrating America’snrecent history. He also wantsnproponents of religion in public lifento reassure secularists and other ideologicalnminorities that past Americannexcesses in imposing explicitly Christiannbeliefs and practices will not ben