Friday, September 3, 2010


I am a Christian. I believe that God is the Creator of the Universe. I believe that Jesus Christ died in my place so that I can rise above my own human failures. I believe the Holy Spirit enters a willing heart, bringing about change and lending hope to a seemingly hopeless world. I don't always understand grace, but I am thankful for it.

I am also thankful that I am free to believe what I believe and to worship in the manner I choose to worship. I have the forefathers to thank for that. They knew firsthand what it was like to be told what to believe and how to worship, and they were determined to keep this from happening in their new home.

I know that I take a great risk as a Christian when I stand up for the separation of Church and State. I agree that it is unfair that this constitutional principle has been applied to the extent that prayer has been removed from school tradition. I wish the kids could pray in school - ALL of the kids - the Christians, the Muslims, the Jews, the Buddhists. All of them. How beautiful it would be for young people to call on their God(s) to bless them with love and peace. But I am thankful that no single religion in this country will become the lawmaking body.

You may think it odd that a Christian would be glad that her own faith not be the prevailing power in her own land. Why wouldn't I want Christians to be in charge if I believe that Jesus is the Way and the Light? I'll tell you why. Because I paid attention in history class, and I've experienced personally the cruel ways in which some Christian believers try to convince others that their "truths" are the only ones that count. I still recall the shame I felt as my Sunday School teacher told me that my parents sinned against God for marrying interracially.

Seems half the country is terrified that allowing more Muslim immigrants to enter our country would mean public beatings and exploding subways. I'm not so sure we can blame Muslims, radical or otherwise, for all the violence in our society. Wasn't all that long ago that many state laws made wives and children the property of male heads of household, and protected those men when they crossed the line and harmed or killed them. I don't have the statistics handy, but I'd bet big money most of those marriages were sealed in Christian ceremonies. There's simply not enough space here to cite all of the instances in which some zealous Christian succumbed to his or her religious passion and caused another harm. (Read Blood Done Sign My Name by Timothy B Tyson for an eye-opening account of the Church's role in segregation.)

Yes, I take a great risk. I expect many of my friends will disagree/disapprove. And that is okay, because the laws of this country make it okay. I get to believe what I believe, and they get to believe what they believe. And we can express our opinions openly, as long as we respect one another and the law.

The point is, our governing bodies strive to protect all of us, regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof, from ourselves. The job is nearly impossible because of our God-given free will. It's not a perfect system, but I believe in it. I trust in it. And I am thankful for it.

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