Monday, October 18, 2010
Let's get this straight, now!
I get so irritated when people say the US was formed as a 'Christian nation;' 'Christian' of course meaning their own particular brand of Christianity. This country was not formed to be attached to any form of religion. Even though many of the US founders were themselves Christians, even they did not believe alike. Nor did they, any of them, expect to force their religious beliefs on the country as a whole, either now or then. In fact, the major reason this country was formed, and rebelled against England, was because the founders wanted a place where it's citizens would be free to worship as they chose. The separation of church and state was a paramount belief of all of this country's founders.
Many Christians do not understand that. If we were to become a "Christian nation," making it so that we Christians can, as so many would like, tell the government what to do, it could soon backfire, with the government in a position to tell all citizens how to worship. Though you might think that could be just fine, what happens when the government tells you to worship in a way that is not what you believe? Remember Germany?
I also do NOT think it is appropriate for preachers to tell their congregants how to vote. In fact, I believe this takes them out of the category of being a religious institution, and they should perhaps lose their non-profit status, and be treated as political lobbyists.
I 'vote my morals,' and my religious beliefs at every election, but that does not mean that I am voting exactly how everyone I go to church with votes. I do not even want to know how they vote! Voting in an election is not a 'Christian' duty; it is a patriotic duty and privilege. "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." (Mt 22:21) I vote as a compassionate citizen; one who is concerned with social welfare, and with other people. In fact, I try to vote as I believe Jesus would vote in my place. Your reasons for choosing the candidate of your choice are your own business. If we were truly people of faith, with even faith the size of a mustard seed, perhaps we would not need to go to the ballot booth at all. We would know that, in every election, no matter what the results, God casts the final ballot.