Obama on Church and State: Four Problems with the Religious Right - Problem 2 and 3
Moreover, it must not be forgotten that the nineteenth century was in name Christian, and the fact that the entire industrial and commercial frame of society was the embodiment of the anti-Christian spirit must’ve had some weight, though I admit it was strangely little, with the nominal followers of Jesus Christ.
Edward Bellamy: his cousin, Francis Bellamy, was an American Baptist Minister, Christian Socialist, and the author of the Pledge of Allegiance
LAST TIME I ENDED with the following selection from the Obama quote:
"And even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools?"
I spent my teenage years in two fundamentalist churches. The second one was started by people who had left the first. The first was started by a group which had left a previous church. In that case, the split was over doctrine—what they believed.
Conservative Christians suffer under the assumption that there is such a thing as an agreed upon Christianity, but the truth is that they can't even agree with each other. Southern Baptists have differences with fundamentalists, fundamentalists have differences with other fundamentalists, American Baptists have differences with Southern Baptists.
The only reason they can hope for a day when "Christianity" is a guiding force in this nation—the only reason they can think that such a thing might happen—is that they have failed to notice that no such single thing exists.
There is no single, conservative Christian, point of view. No two conservative churches agree on everything.
If you then throw in all of the other versions of Christianity which exist in this country, you quickly find that "Christian" becomes an increasingly vague term.
Right-wing Christians who would like this country to be Christian can only hold that thought by ignoring the differences they have with other Christians.
- "Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy?"
Conservative Christianity, which generally tries to distinguish itself by a claim to be "Bible-believing", does not, in fact, take the Bible seriously at all.
Case in point: abortion. There is no passage in the Bible which can be construed by an honest interpretation to take a clear stance against abortion. In fact, the majority evidence in the Bible is on the other side. Yet one of the few beliefs—and perhaps the strongest—binding the religious right together as a political force is exactly that stance.
On the other hand, if you go to the New Testament to ask what a "Christian" social order would look like, you find that it would look very little like capitalism and a whole lot like communism. That was the structure of the early church communities.
Try preaching that in a fundamentalist church.
So, when the "Bible-believing" religious right claims that we should be a Christian nation, it's important to realize that they don't mean any sort of Christianity that you might actually find in the Bible.
"Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount"
More on that in the final installment...