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Friday, January 29, 2016

Some of Us Like to Call Ourselves a Christian Nation

I’ve read several messages and postings about how Christians should put their religion first and politics second. That Christians don’t count anymore and are in danger in the United States. This also is then translated into an attack on Democrats, especially President Obama, with claims he really is a Muslim who is attacking our Christian nation.

 The Christian upbringing and religious instruction I had growing up, as well as my civics and legal education are contrary to this message.

First, for anyone who says they are a Christian I cannot see how they reconcile this hateful message with the teachings of Christ. I understand Christ to have embraced and urged his followers to love everyone, help those in need, and love one’s neighbor as one’s self. In the Sermon on the Mount He said blessed were those who fed the hungry, clothed the naked and were peacemakers. He offered no religious test for showing love to others.

Second the facts do not support the things said in these messages. Our Constitution does not establish a Christian nation. Christians are the majority in this country but our government does not support any religion over another. Here is a link to a brief explanation of the facts.

On the contrary our fundamental document, the U.S. Constitution, assures freedom of religion and also expressly forbids any religious test for office. Based on the Constitution and U. S Supreme Court decisions, no religion is taught in our public schools. Everyone is entitled to learn and practice the religion, or no religion, as they choose.

It’s worth noting that the mistaken belief the U.S was established as a Christian nation comes from the era of our grandfathers rather than our founding fathers. Not surprisingly, this idea was generated by rich capitalists who opposed Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal to help average people in serious need.

But the big companies and extremely wealthy did not want what they saw as “give-aways” and tried to defeat FDR’s help to suffering Americans through the use of religious slogans. They also enlisted preachers to try to convince people that Christ supported greed, something that clearly is contrary to Christ’s teachings as stated in the Bible.

AMERICA may be a nation of believers, but when it comes to this country's identity as a “Christian nation,” our beliefs are all over the map.

Some claim Muslims now are favored and Christians threatened by President Obama’s policies. That is just not supported by the facts. Nor are there any reliable facts showing our President is anything other than the Christian he professes to be. Christians are not persecuted in this country. Rather, some elements, most notably Republican extremists, again to favor the rich, claim to be Christians and use this smoke screen of a “Christian nation under threat” to serve their own interests. However, they neither practice nor preach the teachings of Christ. They are concerned primarily with their own success and getting richer as they use religion and fear to hide their own self-interest.

I read and see a lot of news articles that try to stir up fear and hatred for those perceived as different. President Obama, much like President George W. Bush did after September 11, has tried to bring people together and help us all see it’s not a particular religion that causes terror.

We’ve had a lot of media hype of Islamic terrorists. And ISIS is a threat in some parts of the world. There are differences of opinions about how to best deal with this radical group. But that does not mean everyone who is a Muslim is a terrorist or that ISIS is a big threat to our country.

Here in this country a lot more people are killed in gang violence, or by home-grown extremists who claim any number of religious faiths, Christian as well as others.

Donald Trump is just one of the many who are either very rich or catering to the very rich. He claims to be acting as a Christian but is anything but. Here is a link to an article that details just how un-Christian Donald Trump is.

In today’s politics a lot of so-called religious conservatives again try to exploit our religious beliefs to their own political and financial ends. Religion can be a factor for good. But we should strongly object to its use to spread fear and hatred of people who are of other beliefs.

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