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What does It Mean to be Christian in America Today?

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01/18/2006

Rev. Hutcherson and the other biblical literalists do NOT speak for any Christian majority. We need to understand this.

As is being demonstrated by Robertson and Falwell particularly, agitation based on anger and a distorted sense of vicitmization when pushing an agenda based on religion will fade. It is not a useful long term political tool.

The more this sort of foolishness is held up to public scrutiny the less credible will be these grandstanding self-righteous promoters.

However, we who have in our own lives a personal history of active religious practice need to be willing to remember and recall the our own god-talk and speak publicly about religion ourselves.

The taboo on talking about politics and religion has been shattered and made a device of mud-slinging, judgmental thinking, holier-than-thou hypocrisy and fool-creating sense of victimization - when, like the so-called War on Christmas - such victimization in fact does not exist.

I know that God does not recruit Don-Quixote-types to tilt at pseudo moral windmills in the absence of wrecklessly abandoned moral sense.

Rev. Hutcherson and the SCREAM'ers (Supreme Christian Republican  Evangelical American Moralists) prance off in front of a crowd that is not admiring the antics nor appreciative of the buffooning.

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.

Politics and religion seem to remain prime among those subjects of social discussion most frequently made taboo or avoided - because I suppose, politics and religion bring out our passions.


But nowadays, with uninhibited Christian radical passions unleashed, it is time for our owns passions to speak back.

...  and to push back ...

... and to be honest about whether or not buffons speak for a Christian majority ...

In the absence of our own passions, we passively allow 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 as the founder of a global religion that has become the predominant spiritual philosophy in my homeland.

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 now look more like what was created by Imperialist Catholic Clergy in the Middle Ages.

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 global original that came out of the Middle East and Europe.

In light of today's most important happenings, human death, destruction and suffering based on war, famine, and nature, those who remain part of the original global Christianity find themselves curiously upstaged.

In the United States, the spiritually powerful elevation of the highest good for all concerned - typified by the parable of the Good Samaritan -  has gotten tragically upstaged 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.

Blame for Katrina has been assigned based on a God angrily upset about gay marriage, man-on-horse sex (I`m not kidding), and Israel for evacuating Gaza.

Mr. Robertson is absolutely NOT one lone quack in this regard and should not be ignored as senile and past-his-prime as a speaker-outer or agitator.

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 a Jesus  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 acknowledge God.


-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 Israel.


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 is made.


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 meaning in all our lives.

Washblog.com 2006, Arthur Ruger 2006

Arthur & Lietta Ruger 2002-2008. The American Choice is a  political internet journal based in Bay Center, Washington. The views expressed not authored by Arthur or Lietta Ruger are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of The American Choice or SwanDeer Productions. Permission of author required for reprinting original material, and only requests for reprinting a specific item are considered.

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