Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wall of Separation

I just finished American Gospel by Jon Meacham. It was a pretty good book, though it was rather short (only 250 pages) and could have explored topics a little bit more in-depth. I did like that Meacham pointed out that America was NOT founded as a Christian nation and that it has done its best as a nation when it straddles the middle line between hard-core religious fundamentalism & philosophy-driven secularism. Giving people freedom of choice is critical - and he does a decent job at conveying that message. People who use the Bible as a source of political or personal strength against others are ridiculous. As Meacham says it, if God doesn't force beliefs on people - who gives us the right to do it. I also like his thoughts on how people have always justified themselves based upon their interpretation of Scripture - for example: slavery. So when Christians argue that we should base everything off of Scripture - who's interpretation are you talking about? Finally, I think it is critical to remember that Christians enjoy overstepping their boundaries in the political arena when it is their own faith being supported - but what about when it is the Muslim faith or some other faith? Will they still be comfortable then? The point being - the United States was founded by a solid group of men (most of them not being Christian as we would define Christian today) who believed in freedom and republicanism. The government was based upon those principles and that is what makes this a solid nation. The values, attitude, and actions of Christ are incredible to follow - and the great thing about this country is we are allowed as citizens to do just that. But when we start blurring the line between faith & politics - we usually get a watered down version of both.