Does God Need To Be Worn On A Sleeve?
To segue from the Red Bandana post and the questions concerning overt spirituality I sometimes wonder what if any limitations we should as a nation place on piousness. The news from Benghazi and Cairo, although shocking, seem to me like a sad continuation of the insanity of Islam, more bloodshed from the religion of peace. Apostasy laws, blasphemy laws, a clear mandate from their holy book to subjugate the earth and murder all that stand in your way, reasoning with these people is clearly out of the question. But this post as more to do with us, how as a Christian nation (are we still and should we get away from that?) we should comport ourselves publicly re: our faith, is it necessary to inject God and our beliefs in him into the secular affairs of state, is it necessary for public officials to demonstrate their faith to us, is it necessary to inject religion into any portion of governance, and lastly, does our method of worship/our beliefs in God inflame those around the world that we are trying to dialogue with?
There is no greater advocate for our civil liberties then myself and there existed a clear premeditated rational for placing religious liberty not only in the First Amendment, but first in the First Amendment. Any rudimentary understanding of how we came to be a nation has to include the desire and need to be left alone and able to worship God in their own way. The very concept of Manifest Destiny, a “Divine” destiny, whereby Providence (God) issued marching orders to “to establish on earth the moral dignity and salvation of man”, was responsible for theft of land and the extermination of its previous owners, the native American Indians. But that faith also spawned countless church organizations, institutions that fought slavery, provided for the poor and needy, not only here but around the world, you can be the judge as to whether the ledger is in surplus or deficit mode.
But doesn’t freedom of religion also mean freedom from religion? This door has to swing both ways. The American Dream not only means the land of opportunity and the ability to reap the benefits of hard work and industry, it also means freedom from governmental prosecution no matter what beliefs you cling to. Nowhere on the inscription of the Statue Of Liberty ,” Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door” does it mention ,”As long as you worship our Judeo Christian God”. I would hope that if some atheist family living in Saudi Arabia who is sick and tried of all the religious dogma but who is forced to acquiesce and go along for fear of their head getting separated from their shoulders would look upon our shores with fondness, would feel welcomed because in America all faiths (or none at all) are equally valued.
In the past I have relished our differences with that of Europe, mainly because we are different. Not only in matter such as capital punishment and public displays of religiosity (yes, I got the irony of using both in the same sentence) but the very relationship each citizen has with his government, it’s different. But lately I have been thinking that it is now done ( prayers and saying “God bless America”) more out of habit and precedence and not for which it was intended, to invoke God’s guidance and protection for our great land.
Apologies for rambling, but here are the salient questions; would it bother anyone here if we just flat out eliminated the practice? Understanding that we have no particular sway with the almighty, should we dispense with the pretense of being special and just get down to business? Should not faith be between a man and his maker and separate from his allegiance and duties to his country? Would our new found discretion in all things spiritual, would this improve relations with the rest of the world? And does anyone really think that we as American’s have any leg up or special dispensation over anyone else wrt who God will favor?
Through out the world, we see every day how religious fervor is perverted into criminal conduct. I don’t for a minute equate Christianity with Islam, but getting theology and religious practices out of all governmental actions and considerations, globally this would be a good thing.