As stories of the tragic and sinful killing of yet another young black man are in the news, my mind turned again to the words I hear so often: “We’re a Christian nation.”
My question is when and how?
Surely we can not delude ourselves into thinking we are a Christian nation in our present reality. With laws like Stand Your Ground, with the animosity and name-calling on the air-waves, with the lifting-up of wealth, how can we even think we’re close to being Christian? We’ve substituted faith in Jesus who calls us to love one another for a reliance on guns and violence to solve our problems.
Some folks may assert that we’ve strayed from Christian past. But that is a mythical and revisionist past. We are a people who profited from slavery, visited death and destruction on the first peoples who lived here stealing their land. That is our history; it is the truth. I could also point to our Constitution and many, many words of the founders of our nation as evidence that this country did not have an established religion.
It seems if we are Christian at all, it is not in our societal actions, our history but in word only. Jesus had a word for those who claimed to be one thing and lived another way–hypocrites. Hypocrites (and the wealthy which I confess I am) received words of warning and condemnation from Jesus.
In order for us to claim we live in a Christian nation, this country would look far different and I am not talking about women sporting long skirts and long hair–wealth would be shared, immigrants would be truly welcomed (no one would be labeled “illegal”), our military (both government and corporate) would be disbanded. That’s the truth–that’s what it looks like to follow Jesus. It’s in the bible. Honest.