So, here’s the irony: if you want a more “Christian” nation, at least in practice, Bernie Sanders is your candidate.
Full disclosure: I care nothing about having a more “Christian” nation. I think the very idea is actually probably blasphemous…Jesus was into justice for the oppressed and freedom for the captives, not for setting up governments.
But so many say they want this…but, as Jesus says, they know not what they do.
I read a terrible article in the Christian Post (insert your own quotation marks there) about why Christians should vote for Trump and it was all drivel. Anti-intellectual, history-ignoring, nonsense. Going on and on about conservative judges and anti-abortion rhetoric.
Fun-fact: the early church was against infanticide, which was saving babies abandoned after they were born. Today that looks a lot like a social safety net, not anti-medical procedure bills.
Know your history.
So much of “Christian” these days is about belief, and so little about practice, the whole thing has been confused. Many atheists are more Christian in practice than many (most?) regular church-goers who have been “born again” by saying some prayer…
The truth is, though, that if the United States wanted to mirror the early church, they would do these things:
-support the poorest amongst them through shared finances.
-absorb the debts of those within their circle.
– pass out healthcare like it’s going out of style (Jesus was a provider of free healthcare in the ancient world if you trust the Scriptures)
-welcome the stranger
-provide food for everyone, whether they’re at the table or absent.
-use the common good to support (gasp) the commoners.
In the most ancient accounts of the first church, the Book or Acts and the Didache, you find all of the above. Literally. It’s all there.
If you want a more “Christian” nation, vote for the Jewish guy. And if not him, probably the gay guy, or the women from Massachusetts or ￼Minnesota.
They have more in common, at least in ideology and practice, than the current occupant.
Oh, and here’s a secret: Capitalism is not Christian. In fact, it’s anti-Christ in many and various ways…and it amazes me that Christians don’t get this, by and large. Have you read about Jesus?
The Jesus of personal responsibility is a myth. Jesus was about communal responsibility.
We’ve largely forgotten Christian history. We think Constantine is Christ. Or Paul is Christ.
But those first Christians? They knew something about practice: it trumps (word chosen on purpose) belief.
Constantine used the cross to force power on people. Jesus used the cross to break the powerful. The early Christians new this, and practiced it.
We’ve largely forgotten it.
Want a Christian nation (in practice, at least)?
…well, you have some candidates…
Just curious if you forgot the woman from Massachusetts?
Be kind to you!
Karen Wood she/her
She should be in there. In the original post I included the top three, but amended it because, honestly, she’s also as left as the lapsed Jewish candidate, even if she considers herself a capitalist.
Tim — love you man…BUT. When you wade into the political arena, you offend my sensibilities. I would hope you’d leave your voting recommendations for another forum.
I get that, Sandy. It’s ok. We can disagree.
I’m literally just pointing to the texts at hand with it all.
And I love you too.
I would also say, it’s totally fine not to want a “Christian nation.”
I don’t. That’s not why I vote.
But if someone does want that, this is literally the best choice they have, as it matches most closely to the ancient Christian community when it comes to ideology.
Thank you so much for continuing to write this blog. It is always a refreshing reminder that there are Christians who still follow the teachings of Christ and not just the popular movement. I love when new posts pop up in my email inbox. I look forward to your next post.
This is Ralph, Adele’s friend whom mentioned that I would be contacting you. I had no idea that my first introduction would be to disagree with the first blog I read, but please accept my comments and conversation and not criticism.
I was moved to write back because my morning prayer today was Acts 3:1-47, and I am assuming that at least part of the basis of your thoughts are taken from that scripture. When I read your blog, I thought, “hmmm, that is interesting”. And while I agree with your thoughts of a Christian community, I disagree with your form of application. I won’t second Sandy’s thoughts above, as this is your blog and you are welcome to write anything you choose. However, the early Christians were nothing like those today. They lived in a time that communal living was necessary for survival in a hostile world. I imagine we too would embrace a communal lifestyle today if our country were fall prey to the evils that others must endure.
However, to suggest that Bernie Sanders and any of the other Democratic candidates espouse these principles because of a philosophy of “wealth distribution” is a bit of a stretch to me. In fact, to even imply a proclaimed socialist is right for our country is walking a very scary line, in my humble opinion.
It is one thing to say, “we should care for the poor and the needy” because that is what our Christian principles call, and a very different thing to say that we should impose those beliefs and values by a government that will take and redistribute the wealth. Since you are using history, I will support my case with history as well. I just attended a funeral of a WWII Navy veteran this morning. It was a beautiful service and thoughtful remembrance by his family and local pastor. That man drove the Higgins boats to the Pacific beaches and fought against the same values that Bernie claims are great.
Sure it sounds good to say, “you should be generous with the blessings you have been given” but to state that “you are not being generous enough, so we are going to make you more generous” is a bit reckless, and dare I say a bit naive. Let’s utilize the current redistribution of wealth, from Social Security and federal and state taxes, as an example. If those resources were properly used, then perhaps your assertion would resonate with me more clearly, but I need only look at how current funds are utilized and your assertion is undermined without any argument from me.
I don’t care for the current president, but I did vote for him over Hillary, because at least his rhetoric at least matched my beliefs; pro-life, free markets, less government, and greater prosperity for all. I am not sure who I will support today, but I can tell you the three front runners have not yet impressed me enough to sway my vote, but if one does, I will be the first to pull the lever in support of them.
As a member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, I do believe in helping the poor and those in need, but it is my choice to do so. I have committed my life to the support of that value, but that is my choice as a free many in America. You cannot legislate morality nor make giving compulsory. Jesus never supported that. If he did, he would have gone to Cesar and worked on him to better serve those in need.
I do look forward to meeting you one day in person, by phone or simply an open dialogue via email. All the best and many blessings in 2020.
Hey Ralph, welcome to the blog and thanks for commenting.
It’s clear we disagree, and that’s ok.
I will make two points: Democratic Socialism is nothing like Communism.
And I still think communal living is necessary because the world is still hostile.
Donald Trump is not a Christian, nor are his values Christian, nor are his policies.
Communal good is still necessary, and is the most Christian way to be and live. Not just as individuals, but as a society.
Now, as I say in my post, I’m not interested in having a more “Christian” nation. I don’t care about that at all.
But if you say you do, I stand by my analysis not only as a scholar of the early church, but also as someone who has seen it in practice.
Thanks for reading.