"Christian Politics"

OK, one more side-tracked post before I get back to the Egypt trip and Pyramids.

It saddens me, really, to hear people continue to hold on to the “Christian Nation” notion whenever they discuss politics. While I agree that one of the motivating factors in the drafting of the Constitution was religious freedom, so was freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom from tyranny, freedom from “taxation without representation”. To think that America’s Founding Fathers rebelled against the King of England (one type of “Christian Nation” if you recall) to form (another type of) Christian nation, then history is being rewritten. Many people focus on the roll of religion in the lives of our nation’s first leaders, yet they did not set out to form a “Christian Nation”. Otherwise, this would be a theocracy, not a democracy.

As it is, we do live under a democracy, meaning government by the people. Who are the people? They are Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Wiccans, atheists, agnostics. They are Caucasian, African, Arab, Hispanic, Asian. They are rich and poor. They are straight and homosexual. They are pro-life and pro-choice. They are smart and ignorant. They are athletic and clumsy. They are beggars and prostitutes. They are businessmen, lawyers, and doctors. And they all have the same rights and freedoms. They all have the right to make their voices heard because they live here, too. And they all are loved by my Lord Jesus Christ.

While some “Christians” may have a hard time with the fact that homosexuals can wed in some states, Jesus is making an effort to reach out to the teenager who is struggling with his sexual identity. While some “Christians” may get up in arms over abortion, Jesus is embracing the unwed pregnant mother and whispering in her ear that everything is going to be OK. While some “Christians” turn a blind eye to the poverty-, heartache-, and sorrow-sticken in this country – not even letting them seek refuge in our churches, Jesus is crying out, “Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

It is my firm belief that America was not intended to be a “Christian nation”. Otherwise, why did we allow slavery and discrimenation to continue for so long? Otherwise, why did we even rebell against our existing government? Otherwise, why did we continue to fight wars amongst ourselves and our neighbors? If America was intended to be a “Christian Nation” from the beginning, then I don’t think I want “Christians” running my country because they failed miserably. If, on the otherhand, America was founded as a nation where Christian, Jew, and Muslim could all live peaceably together and work together to the betterment of the country and her citizens, then I say we’ve come a long way.

The biggest problem I have, however, with the idea of a “Christian Nation” is that this is the very idea that Jesus was trying to set straight about his Messiahship. Jesus didn’t come to reestablish Israel as God’s holy nation. He didn’t come to unite the Israelites in a revolt against Rome. That’s exactly what he DIDN’T want to do. People didn’t understand that. They were sure that the Messiah was going to come and establish an earthly kingdom the likes of which has never been seen. But when Jesus failed to establish that earthly kingdom, everyone was really disappointed. They didn’t understand that the kingdom of heaven wouldn’t actually be on earth. It’s in heaven. The kingdom of God is the body of believers who have their true citizenship in heaven (Philippians 3:20), not on earth. The very idea of America being a “Christian Nation” goes directly against what Jesus was trying to set up.

Jesus wanted to make sure that his message was universal. God was now calling all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17), not just those in Israel – and definitely not just those in America. The beauty of Christianity is that we can practice it no matter what type of governing regime we may be living under. In otherwords, I can still be a Christian even if homosexuals are allowed to marry. I can still be a Christian even if women are allowed to teminate their pregnancies. I can be a Christian even if I live in a militant state responsible for the pointless deaths of millions of people. I can be a Christian even if a Democrat were in office. I can be a Christian even if…fill in the blank.

I hear all the time about voting like a Christian should vote. Let me ask you this one: if you were to take a good, hard look at the goings-on in Washington, how could you, as a Christian, give your full fledged support to any it? If democracy is a government by the people, and Christianity is a religion about, well, people, then wouldn’t it make sense that we can make a positive change in government by making a positive change in the people? To me this seems like a much more effective way of improving our country than casting a simple vote for the lesser of two evils.

Wow, this is much longer than I originally meant for it to be. To be honest, this is mainly in response to a church bulletin I just read. As you can tell, I get upset at some things other Christians have to say about politics.