America was founded as a Christian nation, but it’s lost its way and no longer respects the traditional family values of its Judeo-Christian heritage, with a heavy emphasis on Christian. Have you heard that recently? It’s campaign season, so I know you have. It’s worse than sinking into the slime of mere secular humanism; we are in danger of being overwhelmed with Sharia Law. So say at least some of the candidates in almost every race.
It is true that America has been whitewashed with a coating of generic Protestantism for a very long time, but it’s wearing thin and it cannot be repainted. That doesn’t mean that we have turned our back on God, although I think many of those who complain the loudest are closest to doing just that. In the name of a Christian nation they reject policies that point in a godward direction, plaster God’s name on their own political agendas, and promote policies that God has long condemned.
If the candidates, and Americans in general, are truly concerned about slipping away from God, then I suggest paying a little more attention to the 8th century prophets (BCE), who may have as much to say on God’s behalf to us as they did to those ancient Israelites. Through them it appears that God is not much impressed by liturgies, worship services, clergy, offerings, and public testimony of faith when that ignores, or worse, covers up, injustices that corrode society. God is not shy about saying what he thinks is wrong with society, and it all has to do with fairness, honesty, equity, and care for the poor in whatever state of need they may be. God has much to say about judges, executive authority, law making, taxes, income disparity and class divisions. It’s time to pay attention to what God has to say.
Leave so called traditional family values behind. They have become little more than political cannon fodder with no real meaning. Pay attention to God’s values. And what does God require but to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God. What does Christ say but to love God, love your neighbor, and love one another as he has loved us. Paul is not shy about describing all manner of personal behaviors that damage relationships, and most of them have to do with the vituperative trash talking coming out of the mouths of candidates and radio talk show hosts, many of whom claim to speak with godly authority. Moreover, it’s not a matter of simply stopping destructive political behavior, whether as governments or individuals. That behavior must be replaced by behavior that reflects God’s values.
Turning again to Paul, consider a portion of his letter to the Galatians as but one example of many:
Gal. 5:16 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.