I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why in many houses of worship we have national flags displayed near the altar. It seems a little misguided to me, because I don’t think God cares what passport you carry. It’s also interesting to think that with so many people who use the phrase “separation of church and state” I haven’t seen too many in the flock voice concerns about the stars and stripes being displayed prominently in sanctuaries across the country. It makes me uncomfortable because no one else seems to say anything about this.
For the last 50 years, the American church has stayed out of social justice issues (with the exception of the civil rights movements of the 1960s). By recusing itself from the issues of the day, the church has recused itself from being relevant to the conversation. Instead, it chose to define itself by declaring what it does not allow, rather than what was allowed. The last time I was reading the New Testament, it seems to me that Christ was really involved within the political and social justice conversations of his time. Christianity at its best offers us a way of life that is predicated on loving others and advocating for the voiceless. Christianity is a faith of being uncomfortable. This means we should be actively challenging those initiatives that have been put into place by those currently in power, who perpetuate the active disenfranchisement of others. Because it’s occurring all around us.
Pope Francis has openly stated that he believes global economic disparity should be a major concern for the Catholic Church. Yet, many American cardinals are wary of this approach. Which leads me to ponder: have we become complacent in our comfortability?
Americans make up less than 5 percent of the world’s population yet own more than 25 percent of the world’s wealth. Yes, to most Americans, the suffering of war, poverty and disease occurs away from home and all we can do is “pray” after we watch the 6 p.m. news. Have we become complacent in our own spiritual lives that we have, like Pilate, washed our hands of the Gospel?
Just as being Christian is about your actions, over how loud you sing, or how you pray, being American has nothing to do about your outward show of Americaness. It has everything to do about what you hold dear and share in common with others. I don’t think God cares what lapel pin you wear during election season. He is more interested in how we treat others.
For American Christians, we should be wary of what politicians say about us. The prevailing pundits don’t speak for me, or my idea of the church. The only way to change this conversation is to get up from our couches and get uncomfortable. Get uncomfortable and advocate for others who are not in positions of privilege. It’s what we’re called to do.
- Forgiveness and Compassion Come with Rules. Those Rules Have Been Broken. - January 6, 2021
- Dear President-Elect Biden: Heal the country. Pardon Trump - November 12, 2020
- My New Year’s Resolution: Go to Hell. Heal the Country. - December 20, 2019
- Want To Change the World in 2019? Set Down Your Tamborine - January 1, 2019
- Racist message reportedly found on refugee family’s home in Spokane - May 8, 2017
- How to respond to hate crimes - July 27, 2016
- 5 Easy Steps on How to Hijack the Republican Party: A Case Study on Trump - March 11, 2016
- An Interfaith Defense of Donald Trump - December 11, 2015
- People still seek God, but not in buildings - November 25, 2015
- What Parliament was missing: ACTION - October 25, 2015