Christianity and Democracy, The Rights of Man and Natural Law
Few political philosophers have laid such stress upon the organic and dynamic characters of human rights, rooted as they are in natural law, as did the great 20th century philosopher, Jacques Maritain. Few Christian scholars have placed such emphasis upon the influence of evangelical inspiration, or of the Gospel message, upon the temporal order as has Maritain.As this important work reveals, the philosophy of Jacques Maritain on natural law and human rights is complemented by and can only be properly understood in the light of his teaching on Christianity and democracy and their relationship. Maritain takes pains to point out that Christianity cannot be made subservient to any political form or regime, that democracy is linked to Christianity and not the other way around, and that every just regime, such as the classic forms of monarchy, aristocracy and republic, is compatible with Christianity and in it a person is able to achieve some measure of fulfillment even in the temporal order.At the same time he argues his distinctive thesis that personalist or organic democracy provides a fuller measure of freedom and fulfillment and that it emerges or begins to take shape under the inspiration of the Gospel. Even the modern democracies we do in fact have, with all their weaknesses, represent an historic gain for the person and they spring, he urges, from the very Gospel they so wantonly repudiate!
About Jacques Maritain
Jacques Maritain, a highly regarded French philosopher, teacher and writer in the 20th century, was one of the principal exponents of Thomism and an influential interpreter of the thought of St Thomas Aquinas. He lived for many years in the United States, and taught at Princeton University and Columbia University. After WWII, he served as the French ambassador to the Vatican. He also helped draft the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).