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The Bible Should Not Be Wrapped in an American Flag

The ideological framework of the evangelical right seems to wrap the Bible in an American flag and the Constitution in a Bible cover.

The idea that the United States was founded distinctly as, and should definitively be, a “Christian nation” is strongly held by those who comprise what is known as the evangelical right. This ideological agenda is what fuels their electoral passion and drives their unique version of political activism.

“God and Country” is a frame of reference from which flows an agenda aimed at incorporating a particular interpretation of the Bible (usually a somewhat narrow interpretation) into legislation, executive order and judicial action. Also within this framework, American patriotism is treated as though it were a biblical virtue. Further, democracy, capitalism, and their corollaries are subtly (or in some cases not so subtly) held as Christian values.

The ideological framework of the evangelical right seems to wrap the Bible in an American flag and the Constitution in a Bible cover. A reasonable analysis of history and a proper understanding of God’s purpose for the church within society would lead to a different place though.

The United States was not established to be an expressly and/or exclusively Christian nation. Far from seeking to form a definitively Christian nation, the Founders sought rather to form a religiously tolerant nation.

No doubt many of the Founders were religious men—most of those were Christians in the very broad sense of the term. But it must be understood that many of these Christian Founders were not by any stretch evangelical as they are commonly assumed to be by many on the Christian Right. Thomas Jefferson, for example, was a naturalist who would not accept anything in the Bible that even hinted of the miraculous. While the Founders confessed of a
Creator from whom we are endowed with certain unalienable rights, many of them were deists who denied that God was personal or involved in the world.

Even had the Founders all been evangelicals who sought to construct a government and culture that was definitively Christian/evangelical, does that mean we should continue that legacy? The purpose of the Church and the role of Christ-followers in this world, as I understand Scripture, is to be living out an alternative way–the way of Jesus–within the larger society and culture. I don’t see any biblical support for Constantinian-like efforts to Christianize a society through edict. The gospel and its overflowing implications upon those who believe it and live in light of it is not real if it is forced upon people and not permitted to be freely accepted or rejected.

One thing in which many of the Founders did believe that we would do well to follow is the separation of Church and state. All of history shows that whenever the two get bound together (as in “God and Country” and ”Christian nation”) the result is always the perversion of the Church. Its purposes get co-opted by the state.

The state needs to be the state. And the Church needs to be the Church. This doesn’t mean leaving our faith at the door when entering the public square, but it also doesn’t mean forcing our faith upon the rest of society by way of the government.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Tony June 15, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Norway terrorist was a christian terrorist. he didnt kill thousands but served same goal. so not so much as a stupid analysis. now obviously there is more terrorism within the muslim like religion but they are going through a period in time where christians once did the same exact, but without these types of weapons etc. http://news.yahoo.com/christian-terrorist-norway-case-strikes-debate-181559379.html and to answer your other comment.....there are christian hating churches as well, as seen as fact in the videos posted where making fun and hating of gay people is accepted, just as Jesus would have done...yeaaaaaahhhh okay. gay bashers is what they are. What about Romney's church again, it was illegal and seen as a SIN to have interracial marriage. Fact: black people were seen as a curse and "devil" like. Romney's bible used to have the N word in it, until they changed the scriptures to say negroes. This was all changed of course a long long time ago back in 1978! haha what a joke. oh and this of course is all fact. where is your fact that Obama hating a race. That of course would mean if hating a race, he would act like the Norway Christian did. But then again all the loopy republicans must be loopy if they all agree that he is a Christian that attends church. Then again, why would Obama just attend a Bush award ceremony if he hates his race. makes ALOT of sense.
Limeport Resident June 25, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Liberals are losers has a problem with understanding anything that is over four letter words. Obama goes to church regularly. The church Rev Wright preaches in does not hate whites. If Liberals Are Losers goes to church, I would not a priori say the church hates blacks. The USA a Christian nation attacked a country killing thousands without justification. Priests terrorizing kids, Sandusky a Christian terrorizing kids. Some Christians are evil! Timothy McVey was a Muslim?
Liberalism is a mental disorder June 25, 2012 at 11:44 PM
I can't even read this... it looks like the work of a 4th grader with a head injury.
Liberalism is a mental disorder June 25, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Well, it is a challenge understanding your writing. Ever hear of punctuation? Just check out some or Wright's sermons, and you'll know he's a preacher who hates just about everybody... except blacks. What country did we attack without justification?
Martha Cox Popichak June 26, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Hmm - shall we look back at what happened to Native Americans? How about slavery in this country? Yes, some "Christians" had slaves. Our belief systems go through changes. Name calling and nasty disparaging comments do not belong in civil discussion, otherwise the writer is suspect.

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