The role of the State in Christian Society is to encourage virtue, not to usurp it

IN vain do some think that socialism is merely a theory of economics.

No, socialism replaces everything with itself; it is founding its own religion.

New Hieromartyr St Hilarion (Troitsky) of Verey (+1928). Published in English in “Orthodox Life”, May–June 1998, pp. 35–44, and online at TrueOrthodoxy.

More on St Hilarion at OrthodoxWiki.

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St Hilarion (Troitsky) of Verey (+1928)

St Hilarion (Troitsky) of Verey (+1928)

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UNFORTUNATELY, there are European politicians who are attempting to destroy the traditional, churchly way of life because this is precisely how they view the function of the secular state – to divorce the Church from the social arena.

It is this attitude that the Orthodox Churches must combat, joining their efforts with all who are ready today to defend traditional against the liberal attitudes, the religious against the ‘common human’ values, uniting with those willing to defend the right of religions to express themselves in society.

Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev (1966–), in Christianity and the Challenge of Militant Secularism.

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Margaret Thatcher in 1983

Margaret Thatcher in 1983, as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

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OF course it is true that all men of good will must be concerned with the relief of poverty and suffering, and in most Christian countries this has come to be regarded as one of the primary concerns of politicians.

But it is one thing to say that the relief of poverty and suffering is a duty and quite another to say that this duty can always be most efficiently and humanely performed by the State.

Indeed, there are grave moral dangers and serious practical ones in letting people get away with the idea that they can delegate all their responsibilities to public officials and institutions. […]

[T]he role of the State in Christian Society is to encourage virtue, not to usurp it.

Margaret Thatcher, Speech at St Lawrence Jewry, March 30, 1978. See more at the Margaret Thatcher Foundation.

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