Happy Thor’s Day
I have book on my shelves called “The Myth of a Christian Nation” by Gregory Boyd. I know there is a rebuttal book out there to it and one day I have plans on reading both of them, but I stand with Boyd on this issue. I have read many of the founding fathers and there was little said at the founding of the nation about it being a Christian one. In fact part of the issue with the first amendment is this very thing – preventing any state religion including Christianity. No matter how much Christians would desire this to be true, it is not. If anything this is a deist nation or a secular one by design.
In truth at the founding of the country under the current constitution, Christian preachers actually decried the fact that the document didn’t make Christianity the state religion. The called the government it created ‘godless’. What we have is a nation founded on enlightenment principles which would make us more deistic and not Christian at all, as deists in general distrust religion including Christianity.
Most of this mythology can actually be traced back the 1950s. Yes, that recent because that is the time when people still fresh with the accomplishments of WWII with its patriotic fervor and feelings of threat from ‘godless communism”. To combat this a lobbying movement started to do a lot of things, but some of the results were “under God’ in the pledge of allegiance; which basically excludes those who don’t believe, and “In God We Trust” which replaced “Mind Your Business” on the money.
The results of this is a generation who grew up with both of these things and many of them will tell you they have always been there; but they haven’t. Personally the old pledge was far more inclusive and the motto “Mind Your Business” would have been a better lesson of “Mind Your OWN Business” which would probably lead to less offended people these days.
The main issue for me is as I watch Christians, is that they use this myth to justify political involvement. To press a Christian agenda on the nation like they were trying to get it back to its roots. The roots of this nation were never Christian to begin with and the problems this has caused far outweighed the benefits. It pretty much has caused more division in the nation than it ever has unity. I realize I am suggesting that perhaps Christians would be better off dropping the myth and most of them will not listen, but the truth of it is – the Christian nation myth is just that a myth. Believing in mythology as if it is fact has never done anyone any good.
Time to Look Through the Eye:
The painful truth is you cannot make anyone believe something by force. No matter what draconian measures are taken to order people’s behaviors, their beliefs will always remain their own. Their thoughts and feeling on things are their own. Faith cannot be forced and it is the height of folly to think otherwise. People believe what they want to believe and to try to make them believe something else by force is sheer folly. You can only cause outward behavior to line up with your faith’s moral rules. This does not have the effect that is intended; which it to make the person believe, but rather it creates resentment and often underground activities that break those moral codes. The moment people can shake those moral codes off they do. Religious dictatorships end in revolution and rejection as historically they are the most brutal along side of communist ones.
Historically, there is really only one reason to claim something is about God and that it to give you such moral authority, that people never question your real motives. Christians invoking the Christian nation myth, often claim that their actions are trying to get the nation back to its roots. But the root of this nation are deistic and rational, not Christian and emotional. Christians use the myth (which is a falsehood) to secure certain support politically and this is more about marrying their religion to the state which is something the 1st amendment strictly forbids.
I have never been sure about the theology of this. Part of Catholic theology has had the theology of violent overthrow of government that oppressive, but this theology has never been official sanctioned. On the flip side if one can through democratic means enlist this idea then the church has never been reluctant to join themselves to the state with past theologies like the divine right of kings and for Protestants in America – manifest destiny. Almost always the theological paring of faith and state has disastrous consequences for some other group of people who the people of faith dislike. They then use the state to not only do the dirty work of oppression but often engage in murder, theft and rape while they do so.
Theologically speaking, Christians some to forget that whole ‘love thy neighbor’ commandment. Through their marriage to the state they can eliminate their enemies and opponents using the state, while all the while claiming to love the people they are eliminating. It’s a relationship that allows power while at the same time claiming something else. No church-state marriage has ended without they happy couple destroying someone else that the church claims to love, while at the same time sanctioning the state doing the killing.
I don’t have time for this anymore. My main concern as a deist is that all faiths have equal voice and that no one faith gains so much power it can eliminate the others. Spiritually my humanism hits here as well. I was Born on Earth, I am one member of the human race. My politics are to be free and let others be free as well. My religion is simply to love. Yeah, that sounds actually like more of what the founders were aiming for and doesn’t involve propagating the mythology of the United States being a Christian Nation.
I used start each church service with the pledge of allegiance, and we were very patriotic. I however knew for a long time that the Christian nation thing was a new addition historically. I am ultimately glad to be rid of it. It doesn’t need to be Christian nation to be a good nation. It needs to respect my rights and liberties and the rights and liberties of my fellow citizens more than anything else. Part of that is not allowing Christianity to be the state religion because as always it will abuse such power. This myth is one of the ways it seeks such power and it needs to be called out for what it is – mythology.
Continuing to Walk the Path,
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.