Do Right-Wing Evangelicals Really Want a “Christian Nation”? Surely not!
Perception is not reality. I know a lot of people who are more obsessed with how they are perceived than actually being who they say they are. The political world is no different. Many of today’s evangelical Republicans desire to sound like they want a “Christian nation,” but with no intention of creating a real Christian nation.
A truly Christian America would be forced to do some things that most evangelicals will never agree with. To follow the teachings of Christ would place certain demands on our society that these evangelicals would fight vehemently against.
On immigration, the teachings of Jesus would require that every foreigner residing in this country be granted citizenship. When I was a teacher, I remember a student who arrived one Monday morning and told the story of seeing her uncle being dragged out of his car by INS officials. They never saw him again. This student was constantly afraid that her father would disappear in the same way. A Christian nation would never do such things and would rather welcome all foreigners.
Regarding health care, Jesus was clear about the importance of healing the sick, as is the case in the rest of the Bible. I don’t think he would ever turn anyone down for lack of money. I recently visited a friend of mine, a 70 year old man who is physically disabled and currently lives in an understaffed and underfunded nursing home. My friend is routinely neglected as he and the rest of the patients live in filth and await death. It costs my friend $16,000 a month for this level of care. A Christian nation would never tolerate any of that.
It seemed like every other room in this nursing home had a sign outside the door saying the patient inside was a veteran. These men and women who served their country are today ignored and abandoned. A Christian nation would treat those who served with love and tenderness. He would take care of the sick and the elderly and would not turn anyone away.
As far as the military-industrial complex is concerned, to use President Eisenhower’s famous phrase, I am convinced that Jesus would not be impressed by all those bombs, guns, missiles and tanks, or by the billions of dollars spent so that we could assassinate the so-called criminals. A Christian nation would regard peace as its first priority. Jesus talked about turning the other cheek and loving our enemies. It’s never an easy thing to deal with, but I think it gets a lot harder if you’re destroying an entire neighborhood with bombs in an attempt to kill a suspected terrorist. A Christian nation would abhor violence. The Christian way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy without a gun.
On the education system: I went to high school in an affluent, mostly white community. Almost everyone I graduated with now owns a home, has a good career, and has been as successful as their parents. There was nothing so remarkable about my classmates, and they had certainly made their share of stupid mistakes. With their opportunity and privilege, however, they have almost all met with relative success.
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In my years of experience working with first-generation and low-income college students, I have seen huge disparities. Many of these students are hard-working and committed, with a strong sense of social responsibility. A young man I had in class was working over 40 hours a week, on night shifts, while trying to stay afloat in an underperforming high school. His loyalty to his family, his community, and the values of hard work that America supposedly cherishes will likely doom him to a life of poverty and struggle. A Christian nation would be founded on equality and would never allow such injustice.
In the justice system, while the Supreme Court and other federal judges make decisions that clearly treat people differently based on gender, sexual orientation, race and class, evangelicals who claim to want a Christian nation continue to fight alongside the oppressors. A Christian nation would first and foremost want a system of justice based on compassion and mercy.
Right-wing evangelicals claim to want a Christian nation, but continue to fight on the side of oppression, discrimination and inequality. A truly Christian nation would never tolerate these things.
I remember being in family court watching one person after another go through an unequal and unfair court process. If a person could afford a lawyer, they usually won. If they didn’t, they always lost. Truth and justice were irrelevant, only smoother legal arguments. I saw a woman who barely spoke English and came to court asking her ex-husband to pay child support. It was clear he had money, much of it off the books, and he also had a lawyer. Everyone in this courtroom could see that this woman was a caring mother, desperate for help. She lost her case. Whatever the arguments, a truly Christian nation would never allow such an injustice to occur.
A Christian nation would see society as a whole as responsible for the elderly, the sick, the disabled and the poor. He would grant amnesty to anyone who came to this country hoping for a better life. He would demand peace and extend his mercy to all the enemies of this land. It would require equality in the education and justice systems, and pay special attention to those who are poor in spirit, to those who mourn, to those who are persecuted, and to those who hunger and thirst for justice, as Jesus said so in his most famous sermon.
But a Christian nation is not what these evangelical Republicans want. They, and especially their rulers, seek power, money, and revenge against anyone who stands in their way. If the current American healthcare system is killing people, then fine. If the justice system sentences the poor to prison and leaves the rich free, then fine. If poor neighborhoods are plagued by violence and become near-impossible-to-escape traps, then fine. These so-called Christians have no interest in equality of opportunity, healing the sick, welcoming the stranger or serving the poor. In other words, while conservative evangelicals may claim to want a Christian nation, they will do nothing to make it a reality. It’s the last thing they want.
by Nathaniel Manderson on Christianity