Religion has become such a hot public issue lately, that it's difficult to know what to write about. We've heard enough about religious wars, candidates' faith, Mother Teresa's spiritual struggles, and mysterious apparitions. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone has the right to that opinion.
However, there was one opinion in a recent Letter to the Editor that has touched off a firestorm of controversy. A writer from a local township seems to think that America is "a WHITE CHRISTIAN COUNTRY," and non-whites should know their place. There are, no doubt, others who believe all or part of that statement. And, he is attempting to rally fellow "whites" for some vague jihad to "join together and bring this country back to the way when our forefathers had established it (sic)." For some unknown reason, he doesn't want to go back farther, when literally hundreds of non-white tribes, with names like Apache, Arapaho, Comanche, and Susquehanna, ruled the land. Talk about the blind leading the blind.
The writer connects three disparate terms together in a way that is not flattering to any of them. His assumption is that this country is both white and Christian, thereby setting up the equation USA = Whites + Christians. Ergo, if you are not White and Christian, you are not American. It is also assumed that White = Christian and vice versa. This is a tough one to prove.
The last time I saw a white person, she had pink eyes. The only true whites are albinos. The rest of us, biologically speaking, are various shades of brown. Except for our blood, which is all red, but that's beside the point.
As far as true Americans being Christians, well, the term "Christian" is a pretty broad brush to paint with. Stats tell us that 84% of Americans classify themselves as Christians. Maybe this can be reclassified as an "Almost-Christian country." There is no doubt that the political entity called America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, but they are getting harder and harder to discern in the 21st century, which makes one wonder just how "Christian" this country is.
Let us assume that the writer of the letter is a Christian. If so, according to the formula above, he must also be white and American. Fine. So am I. But is he Christian? And smarter than the U. S. government?
The government defines an American as one who was either born in this country, born to American citizens overseas, or voluntarily naturalized. It says nothing about color or religion, so the writer's equation is invalid. Also, there is no preference given to any religion in the Constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
We've already seen that the classification of "white" is tenuous at best. What about "Christian"? Some of the forefathers were Christian, but others only wore the label but didn't fit into the clothing. Some were atheists or deists at best. But, in the main, they did hold to many Biblical principles. And one of these principles, since the letter writer wants to go back that far, is that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." There are no exception clauses to that Declaration.
What would Jesus, the Christ of Christianity, say about the idea of a white, Christian country? Is one race better than another? Does anyone deserve special rights?
Jesus and the disciples were all Jews from Israel. Jesus' final instructions to the disciples (i.e., Christians), was, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). No exceptions there, either. Don't make Americans, don't make whites, just make disciples. I don't believe our letter writer is off to a good start there.
The true disciple of Christ (i.e., Christian) makes no creedal, cultural, cosmetic, or commercial consideration in his service to mankind. The gospel is to be preached to every creature in all the world (Mark 16:15). We are to "do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than (our)selves" (Philippians 2:3).
What is the place of the "whites" and "non-whites"? "After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands" (Revelation 7:9). God calls every person to come and worship Him.
A WHITE CHRISTIAN COUNTRY? No such thing exists, especially as envisioned by our letter-writing friend.
Alan Allegra is a freelance Christian writer in Pennsylvania. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. More articles at Lifestyles Over 50: http://www.lifestylesover50.com/ and the Morning Call: www.mcall.com. Available for writing. LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/alanallegra/
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