Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Christian Nation

I'm going to make this brief.

I want to thank the Tea Party loyalists, the ultra-conservatives, and the more extreme members of the the Christian Right for finally, positively driving a stake through the heart of the notion that the United States is now, or ever was, a Christian nation.

The heart of the Christian gospel is love for the other, even your enemy, love for your God, and forgiveness even unto death. Jesus lived this, and died this - "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they do..."

The earmark of the people I mention above is an unforgiving judgmentalism, a rigid belief in their own righteousness, and a distinct lack of charity to those of their fellow Americans who have fallen on hard times. They want to "reload," to talk about "Second Amendment solutions" to the government that they don't like. They don't resemble Jesus the Christ in any way I can see; they're more like the Pharisees who looked on as the Romans crucified the Son of God and watched him die in agony on the cross.

As to the delusional belief that these United States are, or were, a "Christian nation"... Name one instance of mention of the name of Jesus - you know, the Christ? - in government publications, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, anything? Sure, there are the odd mention of "God," of "the year of our Lord," and similar terms, but those could just as easily be referring to almost any monotheistic deity. I'm talking about a concerted mention of Jesus the Christ, the "Christ" in "Christian nation." It's not there. What we actually find is more like the vague "God" in Enlightenment philosophy, something that was very typical in the 1700's when this country was founded. Vague God-talk; that's just about as specific as the half-assed "religion" we find in the "theory" of Intelligent Design.

No Christ here, move along, this isn't the Christian nation you're looking for...

Jesus wasn't an American, he wasn't a Roman, he was a first-century Jew living in an occupied country. He was also an absolutely unique being - fully human, fully God - and billions of people call him Lord. Some of us fall on our faces because we can't do what we want to do to honor him - we fail, we sin, we ask for mercy. Some of us are so proud of our righteousness that we strut about and crow about how we're not like "those people." There's a story in the Gospels about these two types of people. From it, we get the prayer of the Orthodox - the Jesus prayer.

"Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner." I hate to say it, but I don't think I'll be hearing any of my ultra-conservative countrymen saying this anytime soon.

1 comment:

  1. If this were a Christian nation, freedom of religion, for one thing, would be the first thing to be thrown out the window.

    And then which of the thousands of denominations would come into power? Which would be dictating what the "true" Christian faith is to the entire nation? Would it be the Jehovah's Witnesses or perhaps the Catholic Church with their Pope (World Domination)? I think the Catholics are the most likely to take power. They have the most experience with this sort of thing.

    Do we really want to combine religion with the power of life and death over people again, with the might of the most powerful military on earth? Is this really what people want?

    The very existence of each of the different denominations of Christianity (Your own Church) is dependant on freedom of religion and the separation of church and state. Without it one denomination will eventually have world domination. And it will not matter in the least if it is the true one. Why not Joel Osteen?

    The different denominations will ever fight over political power in this country. And the more centuries that go by, the more the Christian world will fragment into pieces, like shattered glass. It happens every day as one church breaks away from another to maintain a more “pure truth.”

    One thing I know for sure, we will certainly not have peace and harmony.