It’s almost time to Make America Great Again and legislate more religion! Donald Trump promised the white fundagelicals he would tear down that wall between church and state by repealing the Johnson Amendment, appointing anti-abortion Supreme Court justices, defunding Planned Parenthood, and handing out vouchers for school choice.
I fondly remember the good old days when they were too wrapped up with in-fighting between denominations to worry their souls about the heathens among them. Baptists took classes on how to witness to Catholics, because idol worship and prayer to Mary were a direct path to hell. Pentecostals knew all the others were doomed for wearing makeup, jewelry, and pants. Methodists were diet Baptist; Episcopalians were Catholic Lite. Only some denominations’ members would acknowledge one another in the liquor store.
Something happened after I stopped attending church. Instead of focusing their energy on winning souls to Jesus by living a life to his glory, Christians gave up on themselves and turned instead to their state and national legislators. Witnessing became lobbying; walking the walk became talking the talk.
The Bible discusses the law in a number of places and the relationship Christians should have with it. Jesus lived his life and instructed his followers to obey man’s law, not to have them exert influence to have man’s law changed to suit their beliefs.
John 3:17: For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Romans 3:20: Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
Donald Trump had 81% of the White Evangelical vote, which was even higher than GW Bush. There is no doubt that was a significant portion of his base, without which he could not have won. Following him was Mitt Romney, a Mormon, and that was very difficult for many fundagelicals to stomach. I vividly remember the deeply divisive denominational differences that threatened his candidacy and likely had a lot to do with him losing the election.
The wild differences between Romney and Trump still confound. How did the same people who struggled to reconcile their beliefs to that of a Christian Mormon so easily fall in line behind “I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.” (MSNBC)
Today we have excited social conservatives promising to put GOD back in schools and government and even private businesses. Merry Christmas will be the new national motto.
According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, there are over 1500 different Christian faith groups in North America, made up of 247 million adults, 78%, who identify as Christians.
1500 distinct groups that cannot agree on use of alcohol, missionary funding, how often to take communion, a woman’s allowed role at home and in church, instrumental music, clapping in the sanctuary, whether baptism should be sprinkling, pouring, or dunking, and we could go on.
If we are going to pretend the founding fathers did not call for a separation of church and state, and this is a Christian nation, which version of Jesus are we going to follow?
Perhaps this dilemma will get the extra-Crispy Christians back to arguing among themselves and allowing the rest of us to live in peace again. We can only pray…