I’m not Christian, but that is a large part of my background and upbringing and as a seriously religious person who has devoted herself to the study and practice of theology as educator and clergy, I want to make it very clear that when I speak about topics surrounding Christianity my focus is on the loving and positive aspects of Jesus and not the imperfect conditions of various groups of his followers.
I am absolutely disgusted and horrified at what is passing off as “Christianity” in our country at this time.
The separation of Church and State is meant as a protection for the sanctity of each from the corrosive influence of the other. Religious groups are protected from government oppression and interference, the government is required to treat all beliefs with equal respect, and no religion is to have influence in government or power over the law of the land. There are multiple issues throughout history where this has been tested and fought and wrestled with. How much influence should be permitted for the sake of tradition or respecting beliefs? Back and forth…
The National Prayer Breakfast is one of these hold-overs that skirts this very concept, but when done within certain bounds and understanding, I can see a positive value in it.
(I go into more detail of the idea of being a Christian Nation here.)
Most of my personal concern over the last twenty-something years has been on avoiding religious persecution for belonging to a minority religion. I have been evicted from my residence for it, discriminated by supervisors at work because of it, and harassed both publicly and privately for my beliefs.
It’s laughable to anyone in a minority position to hear the cries of persecution from those in power or majority, and for so long, the idea of Christians being the victims of the mixing of Church and State has been a true “WTF-are-you-talking-about?” experience for me. However, the recent remarks that Trump gave at the National Prayer Breakfast and the silence that followed from those who should feel far more outraged than I do, who have legitimate reason to be irate that your sacred teachings are being shredded and defecated upon, are now saying nothing.
The fact is that the wall between Church and State is gone. It’s a nice idea that has failed to be properly executed; Christianity in our nation is lost because of that.
The United States is suffering tremendously because of division, inequality, xenophobia, anti-education, fear, anxiety, and hatred-of-otherness. Whatever your political or religious leanings or understandings are, you have to recognize that we are in a crisis, drowning and choking on this brackish, slimy water. Even if we survive and can breathe again afterwards, we are going to be violently ill for years to come from having inhaled and ingested it.
Before Trump spoke, the people gathered there, and all who listened or watched, were reminded of the words Jesus spoke in the Sermon on the Mount. The Gospel’s instruction to those who claimed then (and now) to follow him, holds the spiritual guidelines of loving your enemies, forgiving those who persecute you, and having mercy and compassion for those who are powerless.
The word of God in the Flesh giving this standard to his people, was followed by Trump’s bold, condescending, egotistical statement that he didn’t agree.
This was not a political statement. This was not Trump telling the person who spoke before him that he had a different opinion. This was the man who apparently can do no wrong, and is the one that so-called religious Christians will defend, telling the world that HE DOES NOT AGREE WITH THE WORDS OF JESUS CHRIST.
It hasn’t been enough for you to hear him defend hatred and violence against those who are weakest — or to encourage such against those he personally considers rivals or enemies. It hasn’t been enough for you to see him lock children in cages and leave them to suffer and die without warmth, food, water, or medicine — people who have done nothing wrong — who have done nothing other than seek out the hope of a better life for themselves and their family.
And apparently, it’s not even enough for you when he openly argued against the words of your Savior, to a room full of your supposed leaders, because they chuckled and applauded.
And not one of your mouthpieces has challenged this. No one has stepped up to tell your followers that he is wrong, that this is not what your religion believes and not what you profess to teach.
The collapse of separation of Church and State has affected Christianity, but not in the way you believe it to be. It’s not about the “War on Christmas” or lack of prayer in schools… it’s the fact that political power and policy have infected the sacredness of your holy scripture, and turned it into a boil on the soul of humanity, proven by the fact that you won’t do anything about it, but will instead laugh, and defend, and support it.
I’m just a person, not even a Christian, and I find you contemptible, liars and oath-breakers, hypocrites and false teachers. I’m a Pagan. My opinion can be brushed aside if you want to. I’m not beholden to your religion’s teachings. I’m not concerned about my fate after this life. I’m good with the choices I’ve made and will continue to stand by the gods I’ve sworn to.
But what will Jesus say about you?