As I write this we citizens of the United States of America live in
a country that has nurtured and sheltered the growth of religion within its borders - buttressed by what has become a constitutional
mandate to keep state and religion officially separated.
As I write this I’m aware that there is a movement toward abolishing
the legal separation of church and state - a movement that of itself is legally part of the rights of citizens to advocate
for legal and governmental change. The U.S.A is a country dominated by Christianity but remains by no means the sort of Christian
Nation some advocates encourage.
Advocating for change and reform is part of what it means to be American,
like baseball, apple pie and Mom. Seriously considering change and reform must include a sense of what “being American”
really means on an individual level. But politics and religion seem to remain among a majority subjects of social discussion
most frequently made taboo or avoided, primarily because I suppose, politics and religion bring out our passions.
Today it is time for our passions to speak. In the absence of our own passions,
we are passively allowing our society to slide toward being told by others the correct answer to “What does it mean
to be Christian in America.”
For me being an American Christian equates to believing in Jesus Christ as
the founder of a global religion that has become the predominant spiritual philosophy in this country. Christianity as a global
religion is not the product of a historical religious imperialism that proved itself the most successful force behind its
growth (although religious imperialism is part of Christian history.) Were such true, global Christianity would already look
more like what the most aggressive right wing Christian agitators are attempting today in America.
We then are either spectators of or participants in a conflict in this country
about whether or not a “Holy (or Wholly) American Christian Church will rise and separate itself from the original.
In light of today’s most important happening, death and destruction on the Gulf Coast, those who remain part of the
original global Christianity find themselves curiously upstaged when exhorting all Christians to be the Good Samaritans by
those whose view remains steadfastly focused on separating the country and its people from reality.
Numerous of these pastoral agitators have stepped to the plate - ignoring
the suffering - and exploiting the tragedy for ideological desires. Use a search engine and plug in “Katrina God’s
punishment” and your hits will be in the tens of thousands. One example:
What being Christian
ought to mean …
If I follow Jesus I follow the ultimate portrayer of human goodness. I follow
Him who taught me that love of God and each other, that compassion and understanding are the highest spiritual virtues to
be sought. I follow Him who modeled perfectly what it means to be Christian in America and the World.
Jesus tells me to love and be concerned about the poor, the suffering, the
weary, and to learn and practice compassion.
Christian Celebrity Agitators (CCA’s) tell me that such is not as important
as this stuff:
-Being seriously frightened by the threat of my children being indoctrinated
in the homosexual lifestyle,
-Being more concerned about a plot by judges to assault my right to publicly
-Being outraged by media slander of Christians which is in reality a media
slander evoked by slanderous agitating right wing Christian celebrities with big mouths who bring negative responses on because
of their own actions.
-Being disgusted by Hollywood attacks on Judeo-Christian ethics which, as
defined by CCA’s, are distinctly separate from common sense ethics, personal morality and sense of goodness - thereby
inferior to CCA-defined values for the rest of us.
-Being very worried that America is about to experience the lifting of God’s
hand of protection and the imposing of His judgment on the nation most responsible for endangering the land and people of
CCA’s express this in a form that assumes that we all - like they -
have glibly accepted the notion that America is special above all other peoples;
that God has maintained some sort of holy curtain of protection from natural
and man-made disasters and attacks historically because of our supposed holiness;
that America has enjoyed some vague status in the eyes of God as an especially
chosen people and nation more worthy than the rest of the world.
-Being “fearful” of God in a way that recognizes God’s capacity
for wrath and punishment to those who stray, backslide and slip into immorality. The God of the CCA’s is perfectly capable
of destroying the innocent with the guilty as evidenced during the 9/11 attacks and the godly fist of Katrina expressing His
displeasure with an entire city that has supposedly mocked God for too long.
This is the stuff of which an American Christian separation from global Christianity
You tell me, gentle
readers. What does it mean to you to be Christian in America at this time in our history?
A large portion of those who are Christian in this country are not politically
nor religiously/evangelistically active and will not be aware of the points - pro or con - upon which this article is based.
Although many Christians are not actively and outwardly religious except perhaps
on rare Sundays, special holidays or family events, there are millions who sit in congregations and outwardly celebrate their
religion in a spirit of worship and fellowship every week. Yet many of these do not cross the line into the politics-and-religion
discourse. They are content in their lives but are they content with what they are told from the pulpit or see and hear on
television and radio?
The citizens of this country named in the above two paragraphs comprise those
who hold the power to impact the political and spiritual direction in the U.S. and the time is coming when it will be unavoidably
necessary to willfully and powerfully express themselves as to what being Christian in America really means.