My eyes perk up when I see the same topic pop up in two different blogs I read. Either someone is assigning essay questions or the zeitgeist is being tapped.
The topic for today: Is America a Christian Nation?
Two commentators argue for religious plurality.
First Jim Wallis of Sojourners in the God’s Politics blog.
What we have grown to call the separation of church and state is good for both the government and religion — that citizenship should have no religious tests and faith can’t or shouldn’t be implemented by the state. The path of Jesus, for example, could never be followed by the state and the prophetic integrity and power of religion to hold governments accountable to higher values and better behavior specifically depends on the faith community’s political independence. Neither should religion need the state’s power to enforce its language and theology, which is why the “war against Christmas” discussion is finally so absurd. Does Jesus’ message really depend on our being reminded to have a “Merry Christmas” just before we plunge into shopping malls and engage in orgies of holiday consumerism that run so directly contrary to his message? Are Wal-Mart and Target to be seen as critical places of theological and spiritual reflection?
Next Right Rev. Mark Sean Sisk of the Episcopal Diocese of New York in Faithful America:
Frankly, I shudder to imagine the nation that is envisioned by those who would like this country to become what its founders never intended: a nation grounded in Christian doctrine. Much as I want for all people to know the love of God as revealed in Jesus, I, emphatically, do not want this nation to become “Christian” in any formal political sense. I am convinced that a theocratic nation, that is a nation that understands itself to be living under and out of the direct leadership of God, is a deeply dangerous place. Such a nation naturally and inevitably comes to believe that its positions and policies are nothing less than a mandate from God. Hence its programs and policies can not fail to result in the stifling of individual initiative and human freedom.