The Tea Party followers and many other Conservatives insist that this is a country founded on Christianity. While many of us realize how revisionist that claim is, it does not serve us to argue with them. Unfortunately, the founders of this country are not here to defend themselves when they are misquoted and misinterpreted. Even the sainted Ronald Reagan would be appalled at how his words and actions are twisted and/or ignored to define modern day conservatism. So let’s not argue with them about whether this is meant to be a Christian nation. Let’s have the discussion about whether their ideas on being a Christian conform to what that religion actually says. Let’s play a game with them. I call it Scripture Tossing.
I have always believed that it is a good idea to know what other people are talking about so my own opinions could be at least well informed. I find you don’t have to agree with a book to read it and know about it. This got me into trouble when I was in Junior High, because I read Karl Marx. When my teacher started ragging on what Karl Marx had to say, I said to her, “But he doesn’t say that.” She said “Yes, he does.” I said, “Have you read it?” She hadn’t. I, being the know it all that I am, said, “How can you talk about what he says if you haven’t even read it?” Which entitled me to a trip to the Principal’s office. My point here is, you don’t have to agree with Christians to read their book. In fact, if you do, you are better armed to discuss what they claim to believe as opposed to the venom they spew. So here is some material from their textbook in case you get a chance to have an intelligent discussion. They will, of course, try to come back at you with verses of their own, so it would help to know the whole thing. This is just for starters, what I consider to be tokenss in a game called “Scripture Tossing.”
So, Mr. Conservative, while I don’t agree with you about this being founded as to be Christian, for argument’s sake, let’s accept that premise and talk about what it means to be a Christian nation.
First and foremost, you would have to agree that, as God, Jesus had to be an integrated personality, right?
And as such, his actions and words would match his beliefs and concerns. Right?
Right. (If they don’t say “right” here, you are arguing with an idjut and the conversation should end.)
So do you see the Bible as a book to be taken literally or figuratively? (They will almost always say literally, this establishes ground rules in case they start “interpreting” the words for their cause.)
So in NO PLACE in the Gospels does he mention abortion or homosexuality.
Those are both sins. God says so.
Show me one place where Jesus addresses them. (They can’t. He didn’t. They will bring up Leviticus.)
Oh, yeah, the same place where there is a ban on Christmas Ham and crab dip. Or Easter ham if you do turkey for Christmas. Am I right? (Leviticus 11 7-8)
Yeah, but that was made OK by Peter’s vision.
Did it say exactly what parts of Leviticus were still in affect or merely say specifically it was ok to eat anything you want? (Specifically, Acts 10:15 says, “The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”” NIV. This could include anything including believing homosexuals. The exact word is “anything,” not “ham.”) Reading the entire section, you see that associating with gentiles was now made ok. So it wasn’t just food being addressed here. Take out the old testament and the letters of Paul (clearly he had a hard time of letting go of many of his prejudices) and there is NOTHING that makes homosexuality a sin.
Anyway, if Jesus was so hard over on homosexuality, wouldn’t he have said so? I mean, he sure spoke out on things he cared about. Here is what he DID care about. The poor (one verse won’t suffice here, it is all over the Gospels. Start with the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)). The sick (ditto – 28 such stories). Children (Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.””) NIV. Caring for strangers even of different ethnic background (The story of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37).
But homosexuality was not known at that time. (Hey, I don’t even have to tell you that it existed in Greece, the predominant culture among the elite at that time.)
I do know that Jesus said the number one command was to love one another (John 15:17, Matt22:37-40). He also said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye”. (Matthew 7:1-5 KJV)
The last paragraph is the reason we cannot be a Christian nation and still have DOMA or DADT, deny rights to immigrants, legal or otherwise, or claim that poor people deserve to be poor or any of that other hogwash. It is the reason we can’t justify withholding assistance because people are different from us.
Finally, for those who know for a certainty they are speaking God’s words and following God’s will comes this message: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’” (Matthew 25:31-45 NIV)
Surely, those who have denied extensions of unemployment benefits or voted against SCHIP or not moved to help people stay in their homes are not acting by the above. The idea of homeless children is unspeakable if you believe what Jesus taught. The Arizona Papers laws go against Christian principles, as do any laws to deny employment or citizenship for those born here. Bigotry is not acceptable. If this is a Christian nation, homelessness and hunger cannot be tolerated. Neither can corporate greed. Universal health insurance is a must. Wars to benefit corporations? Not a chance! If, in fact, the literal Bible is the textbook, their entire movement is out of alignment.
While I do not call myself a Christian, per se (long story mostly because the word Christian has been so badly polluted and my cosmology is not acceptable to them), I do believe these teachings are wise and moral. I also find almost everything Jesus said to align with the Progressive agenda. I do not know how you can be a real Christian and not be a progressive.