Saturday, March 12, 2011

Honduras has Two Christian Democrat Parties

The National Party in Honduras is neither leftist nor rightist, but centrist and Christian Humanist according to Ricardo Alvarez, the Party president. But what does Christian Humanism mean in the context of politics?

According to the English language Wikipedia, there are no notable organizations of Christian Humanists. Wrong. Clearly the authors of that page have never read the Spanish language page on Humanismo Cristiano, which identifies it as a catholic, and political philosophy originating in the writings of the French philosopher Jacques Maritain and the political philosophy of the Christian Democrats as a political movement. The National Party of Honduras is a member of the Organización de Demócrata Cristiana de América (ODCA), as is the Christian Democrat party (PDCH). So effectively Honduras has two Christian Democrat affiliated parties.

The ODCA's website calls the National Party's affiliation with them last August a 180 degree turn from its principles of more than a decade. So what are the new values?

The ODCA's political philosophy is presented in a document from their website called "El Nuevo Centro Humanista y Reformista (the New Humanist and Reformist Center)". which in 2008 outlined the political philosophy of the ODCA, and hence, the member parties.

First and foremost, it is conservative (so much for Alvarez's rhetoric above); with christian moral values (e.g., emphasis on the family, against abortion) and emphasizes small changes (evolution) rather than large changes (revolution). There is an emphasis on the community and a person's duties to the community, on free market economies with little regulation

The emphasis of Christian Humanism is on the creation of persons not individuals, in the community, making a world more prosperous through the "harmonic conjunction" of the market, democratic equality, and globalization to be used for the development of people. They must understand the limitations of the market in assigning resources. They must deepen democracy, increase social justice nationally and internationally. Globalization provides an opportunity to overcome poverty and equalize the inequalities in economic development. This is "positive realism". In summary, they must value a new sense of socialization and citizenship based on the market and on democracy and globalization to humanize them.

Christian Democrats must introduce values that give their citizens not only a sense of local belonging, but of belonging to the world, more liberty, equalities, equal opportunity, the setting up of a civilization of brotherhood. They must actualize the suggestions of christian humanism or whole humanism in their contract between individualism and leading. Change must be based on the possible within ordinary politics (eg, no revolutionary or rapid change), centrist, but working towards the ideal with an ethics of responsibility.

Privilege neither the market nor the state ; people's values and initiatives and interresponsibility should order the market and the state as instruments of their will. They will create a strong civil society based on mutual responsibility that not only creates a climate for economic development but also sustainable democracy. Human rights must be defended in all circumstances. They must work for respect, the basis of democracy.

They will work for sustainable development for men and women. Governments should evaluate themselves by whether or not they improve the life of individuals Parents must assume more responsibility for children's education and religious development. People should work hard, have confidence, and be responsible to others and tot individualistic like the United States.

Families are based on the couple, a man and a women where interpersonal relations are centered. Families are the locus of personhood and the party will work to promote, strengthen, respect, and protect families. Labor laws need to be family friendly.

Equality between men and women requires profound changes in the family. There needs to be a more equal division of labor between husband and wife. The Christian Democrats will propose changes to law that emphasize the equality of men and women in marriage, work, and open opportunities for women to lead politically.

Decentralization is fundamental to strengthening democracy by creating more spaces for people to participate.

But Lobo Sosa and the Nationalist Party are moving quickly to change Honduras and its laws to meet these goals, without doing the necessary social development. In that sense, the change they're introducing is just as revolutionary, in Honduras, as some of the changes Zelaya Rosales introduced.

In this way they're like the Republicans in Wisconsin. They control the government and so can push through just about any kind of change, and it doesn't matter what anyone thinks about it. So much for the Christian Democrat belief in participation. Is the National Party Christian Democrat in Name Only?


John (Juancito) Donaghy said...

I wonder if any of these new Christian free-market democrats have read Jacques Maritain's THE SIN OF USURY, a essay printed in the June-July 1989 CATHOLIC WORKER. Unfortunately I don't currently have access to the essay and it seems not to be available on the internet.

RNS said...

I can confirm that the Catholic Worker is only available in paper. Its never been digitized. Still, there's very little commentary on it on the Internet as well.

I'm sure our Christian Democrats (both parties) in Honduras have not read it. There's no mention of it in the ODCA policy book.