Old-Fashioned American Stone-Throwing

I haven’t blogged lately, especially about anything political. I don’t believe in mixing politics with religion/spirituality, and this is a rule to which I try hard to adhere. Yet given the fact that this boundary has been trespassed repeatedly by others lately, it seems that now is the time to speak up.

First, let’s get the obvious out of the way. There is no religion on earth, Christianity included, which believes that abortion is anything other than a tragedy. (Although one could easily think otherwise when they read Biblical stories about babies and children who are killed in carrying out God’s purpose, such as Genesis 11 and Matthew 2, but that is a topic for another time.) But I think it’s clear from numerous other passages that Jesus valued life, all life, and God calls Christians to value it as well. Pope John Paul II was correct when he said, “A nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope.” And here in the U.S., have never been more hopeless. We find all kinds of creative ways to kill off our children. If we don’t kill them quickly and mercifully with abortion, we subject them to the slow, crushing death of the intolerable world we have created for them. (Check out recent statistics on climate change, mental health and drug addiction/overdose and you’ll understand what I mean.)

I often hear other believers talk about how we should go back to being a Christian nation. To be honest, I’m not sure we ever were. There was a brief period in history when we were really good at pretending to be a Christian nation, but history has revealed the hypocrisy behind that pretense. In any case, it seems like the height of delusion to refer to America as a “Christian nation” now.  According to the Pew Research Center the number of Americans who identify as Christian has dropped 75% just in the last decade. And 36% of Americans between the ages of 18-29 have no religious affiliation, as compared to only 14% of those over the age of 65.  It doesn’t take the gift of prophecy to see that if this trend continues, the Christian church as we know it will be non-existent thirty years from now.

Why is that?

I think the answer can be found in this passionate speech by Ana Kasparian which recently went viral. “I don’t believe in Christianity, which means that you do not get to dictate the way I live my life based on your religion. I don’t care what the Bible says…It’s a clown show trying to decipher what your mythical little book has to say about these very real political issues.”

I’ll be truthful; her words hurt. It hurts to hear my Christian faith, which has been such an unfailing source of joy and comfort in many hard times throughout my life, referred to as “a clown show” with a “mythical little book.” But once I got over the hurt feelings, I realized there was a reason that this video went viral. Because it was like having a mirror held up to Christianity, revealing exactly how we appear to the world outside. To them, we are just some weird cult intent on spreading hatred. And it’s not a good look. At all. 

And we are incapacitated in any evangelization efforts because of this terrible (and sorry to say it, but also deserved) reputation.

Jesus demonstrated clearly how to address this issue, in John 7 when the men were about to stone a woman caught in adultery. The interesting thing about this story is that adultery (like pregnancy) requires the cooperation of two people. And yet, in neither case is there any consequence for the man who is equally guilty. In fact, men are almost always the first in line to throw stones, just like they’re doing in this story. I can’t help but wonder if men are so vocal in accusing women because they hope to take attention away from their own misdeeds.

But Jesus called them out on that. It’s true, he told the woman to “go and sin no more,” but he did so from a place of genuine love and care.

But instead of following Jesus’ example, we have been throwing stones. Lots of stones. At everyone. In fact, we have driven away an entire generation (possibly several generations) simply by throwing stones at them.

I would absolutely love for America to be a Christian nation. Not the pretend Christianity that so many are remembering with fondness…but real Christiantiy, as Jesus taught it. 

That is the kind of Christian nation that anyone could get behind.

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