“They have set up kings, but not by Me; They have appointed princes, but I did not know it. With their silver and gold they have made idols for themselves,…How long will they be incapable of innocence?…For they sow the wind, and they reap the whirlwind….” Hosea 8: 4, 5, 7
I have a great fascination for people who believe that because we live in America and that they claim to be Christian and that they can somehow wrap Biblical language around their decisions, actions, and attitudes, that all the indicators that foretell serious social, political, and economic disasters are suddenly going to disappear like a bad dream.
Or else we’re just going to be raptured and the tribulation will proceed without us.
To whit, might I borrow from a great guru from the athletic world, Lee Corso, by intoning, “Not so fast!!!”
It seems that so much of what we are facing as a country has come because those who claim to be Christian have not lived with integrity or demanded the same from people who have solicited their favor. Consider that, according to the 2000 census, 76.5 percent of the population considers itself to be Christian. Certainly a nation that has more than three quarters of its population claiming to believe essentially the same thing would not suffer from the widespread social conditions that violate those beliefs.
Usually when the terms “Christian” and “social conditions” are brought together, thoughts immediately turn to condemnations of sexual issues, such as extramarital sexual activity, abortion, homosexuality, divorce and the collapse of the American family. Although those phenomena have caused their share of problems, perhaps the greatest damage we Christians have caused to America’s culture has come through our materialism, greed and political myopia.
Consider what we have allowed to happen to America’s working middle class. Personal savings rates are hovering around negative territory, banks have allowed loan applicants to misrepresent their ability to pay back loans, credit card companies thrive on encouraging consumer debt, and the false promises of free trade and open immigration are destroying the ability of families to provide for their needs with their work.
Our national economic plight pales in comparison to the manipulation by the political system we, as Christians, have allowed against ourselves and our neighbors. Remember how the conservative Republicans promised to downsize government, balance budgets, and restore constitutional limits to the federal government way back in 1994? When Republicans won majorities in both the House and the Senate in 1994, the federal debt was $4.8 trillion, today, after 12 years of their tight-fisted, conservative control of government spending, the federal debt is $9.3 trillion. Much of the increase in spending has been driven by the War Against International Terrorism to make the world safe for democracy, but our support for that war has been cajoled through a web of lies that has resulted in the deaths of a growing number of our brothers and sisters.
How can those who claim to be Christian in full confidence ask God’s blessing on America when we, as a nation, consider labor to be little more than an entry on a corporate ledger to be reduced? Don’t we realize that as work becomes less and less valuable to employers that parents need to spend more and more time earning the wages that can sustain home, family, and children? Isn’t the work that makes the machines, appliances, and trinkets that allows modern life to be so comfortable as honorable as the management that devises methods to make those machines profitable? Does the advertising executive provide more to an economic system than the blue collar laborer who supplies the items he makes attractive?
And at what point did supporting liars in their quest for and to hold to power become a Christian mission? Can we at last admit that, in view of the historical record, the Contract with America, by the rhetorical mastermind Newt Gingrich, seems to be nothing more than a shell game to create a voting block and hold to it with promises of delivering on its agenda…someday? When did Christians measure their insight by the willingness to follow Utopian wishes built upon using military intimidation to establish a global hegemony?
America is facing serious political, economic, and cultural challenges and the 76 percent of the population that calls itself Christian cannot disavow its role in the turmoil. The first step just might be in admitting we’ve supported and taken part in the phenomena that have put us where we are and begin acting with integrity to what we claim to believe.
Bob Strodtbeck has been writing commentaries for a news weekly circulated in a community 10 miles north of Orlando, since 1993. He currently lives in Orlando. He may be reached for comment here.
Back to The Covenant News
Covenant News | Pro-Life News | Freedom of Speech | Politics | Aboms.com | Family Topics