Sunday, February 25, 2024

Exploiting people of faith is nothing new!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


     Is America a Christian nation?  According to a Pew Research poll October 2022, 60% of U.S. adults believe that was the founder’s intent.  76% of Republicans and 47% of Democrats hold that view, but the poll found only 34% of Americans believe the United States is actually guided by Christian principles.  A February 2023 NPR poll found 50% of Republicans believe the country should be governed by Christian principles.  Only 23% of Democrats wanted the country governed by biblical principles.

      Christian nationalism is defined as a society or government that legislates civil and criminal laws reflecting views of Christianity.  Christian nationalism is under attack by liberal critics- and some conservatives- who declare it a threat to democracy.  Are Christian political activists a threat to America?  Three observations:

     First, faith not practiced isn’t faith at all. Many branded ‘Christian nationalists’ are believers who got fed up with getting the same old thing (lies/unfulfilled promises) from their government and decided to engage in the political process.  The vast majority of these recent activists hold to a pluralistic worldview and believe their fellow Americans have a right to worship as they please- or not at all.  They aren’t trying to establish a state church or a theocracy.  These patriots just want a government that reflects their values and not the convictions of faithless, agnostic, godless secularists.  Liberals have no issue with Christians, so long as they don’t practice their faith.  It’s when believers start to apply biblical principles in their life and live out their faith that liberals feel threatened and cry foul.  Liberals preach tolerance, but rarely practice it. 

     Second, the walk must match the talk.  A person’s walk talks and their talk talks, but their walk talks more than their talk talks.  When a believer’s actions don’t square with the commands of Christ, their motivation should be questioned.  The two great commandments are to love God and to love your neighbor.  When so-called conservative Christians use liberal tactics to further a political agenda, they fail to manifest the fruit of the spirit.   The Creator will fight battles more effectively and timely than His creatures.  Violating Christian principles and practicing situational ethics to win a temporal political victory is short-term thinking.  Those misguided people hurt the cause more than help. 

     Third, exploiting faith is nothing new.  In the last 50 years in the United States, faith-based voters have been collocated, organized, and immobilized to vote as a bloc.  Candidates pander to the bloc by telling voters what they want to hear.  After getting elected, the charlatan’s actions don’t match their words.  The over-trustful don’t follow-up and the cycle continues.  Because many churches have abandoned the message of the true Gospel and preach political relevance, they are looked at as political depots and not centers of worship.

     America was founded on Christian principles.  The founders were predominately Christians and they were not afraid to admit it.  The countries’ two founding documents (Declaration of Independence/Constitution) contain multiple references to the Creator and explicitly declare all freedom, liberty and rights come from God, not from government.  What liberals truly fear is America returning to governing as the founders intended. They misbrand that ‘Christian nationalism.’ 

1 comment:

James said...

"Is America a Christian nation?" - No, Steve. It has always undoubtedly had members of the faith, but it was not founded as a Christian nation. The Founding Fathers were mostly deists and/or rationalists. They believed in a superior being that they could not interact with in the same way that Christians of today allege to do. If they were establishing a Christian nation, you would think it would be apparent in the US Constitution, but the first amendment to that document establishes the right to religious freedom.

That only answers the question of whether the nation was established as a Christian nation, not whether it has become one. Regardless of what their intentions were, America has changed very much in its nearly 250 years since the Declaration of Independence. We used to have legal slavery, women couldn't vote, and there were no nuclear weapons, drones, or computers. They couldn't fly planes or land on the moon or broadcast on radio or television. Their idea of the right to bear arms focused on muskets, and they were dreadfully worried about Great Britain taking control of their territory. They only had 13 states, and there was no social media. Political campaigns focused on expanding territory and dealing with Native Americans, and the borders were less established.

Christian nationalism, or any type of nationalism, should be cast down by today's society. Nationalism is an authoritarian tactic used by regimes that were once America's greatest rivals. How our country has a not insignificant population that directly and intensely supports this manner of governance is beyond logic.