As we hear a lot of debate now about whether or not we are/we should be a Christian nation, I would like to share the words of The Rev. Joseph Farnes, rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Boise. I think he gives us much to consider.
“But let’s ask a question: What would a Christian nation really look like?
A nation that gives access to health care to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay? Jesus healed a lot of people. He didn’t even ask whether they were employed or able to work.
A nation that supports education for all? Jesus taught the crowds openly and freely, and his disciples provided for material needs. Good thing Jesus wasn’t working on a teacher’s salary!
A nation that supports families and children — with access to nourishing food, clothing and community support? Where kids can go to school in safety, without fear of being murdered by someone with a gun? Imagine being eager to take care that there is no stumbling block for one of these little ones.
A nation that is slow to anger and abundant in steadfast love? Love toward neighbors and even enemies?
A nation that is quick to forgive crippling debts and burdens? “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors!” Uh-oh, what about personal responsibility?
A nation that embraces refugees, remembering that Jesus, Mary and Joseph sought refuge in Egypt when despotic Herod targeted them?
A nation that prizes goodness and righteousness over wealth? “You cannot serve God and wealth,” as it says in Matthew 6:24.
Now that’s an interesting image of a Christian nation. Even so, I wouldn’t want the nation to be conflated with Christianity. As a faithful Christian, I want all these things for people, no matter their religion, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, abilities or lack of economic power. An America for all Americans.
Christianity should always push for greater goodness, greater justice, greater mercy, not greater power. That’s a Christianity worthy of the name of Christ.”