Just be honest, please!

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St. Louis courthouse where the Dred Scott case was first filed. The Dred Scott Decision of the US Supreme court declared that according to the Constitution no one of African descent (slave or free) was a citizen or had the rights of citizens. Picture taken from the St. Louis Arch, summer 2010

 

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.

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4 thoughts on “Just be honest, please!

  1. I do agree we are not a “Christian Nation”, probably never have been, but this has been the best place for Christian’s and the spreading of the Gospel to the rest of the world. In these dark times I am waiting for the Church to stand up, becasue as we both know our government is not standing for Jesus.

    You have some interesting thoughts on military for the nation etc. How would you explain the army that the children of Israel had? Do you think the bible supports socialism?

    1. It is exactly the freedom from an established religion that allows the church as individuals and as institutions to be faithful. In regards to socialism, that is a later political philosophy. Jesus’ vision of God’s Reign isn’t the same thing. I could easily dismiss the “army” of Israel as “Old Testament”. However, the Hebrew scriptures were Jesus’ Bible. This is something I really wrestle with as I try to follow the Word of God in Jesus. I should have made it clearer that I can only claim to be Christian by God’s grace. That is when I can confess my own failing attempts to follow Jesus.

      1. Thanks for the reply. God bless you and I look forward to more of your posts. As a brother in Christ, I’m saved by the same grace, so I hope the questions were understood as just questions, not an attack in anyway. I don’t have all the answers either.

  2. I don’t believe that we can say we were ever a Christian nation, not with our forebears fleeing religious persecution, and establishing a nation where people would have the freedom to worship (or not) as they pleased.

    In terms of current reality, we are very much a pluralistic nation, with people of all faiths and no faith living side by side.

    As a current pastor, and former Air Force chaplain, I believe that our strength and our beauty as a nation is in providing a home for all people to worship freely (or not) as they wish.

    Our God is not a coercive God. God invites people into relationship.

    I appreciate your blog, and hope that you will continue to have courage to share your message.

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