Christian Socialism
Christians and the State

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A Godless Nation


December 16, 2003


Was Jesus a Liberal or a Conservative?


          That’s an easy question to answer. He was neither.


          In fact, those labels really don’t mean very much when you get right down to it.


          Have you noticed that people have to distinguish between liberals and classical liberals?


          And we now have conservatives and neo-conservatives–that’s neocons in political speak.

I can’t describe myself in political terms. On some issues I might agree with the liberals, on other issues with conservatives, and on some, I might be libertarian.


          So why should I imagine that we could describe Jesus in political terms?


          He said famously, “My kingdom is not of this world.”

But, here we are, his children living in a society where we are actually a part of the government.


          And we are faced with a host of questions that we really can’t sidestep.


          Jesus also said, “Ye are the light of the world.”


          So if people who believe in Jesus don’t speak to the world and its issues, then we aren’t doing out job.

But, it isn’t always easy to know what to say, because as soon as you open your mouth, someone hangs a label on you.


          It’s just a whole lot easier to label someone than it is to think about what he had to say.


          And nowadays, people don’t give you very much to think about. Television has all but ruined the political process, because every political idea has to be distilled into sound bites.


          We are given spin, not explanations and ideas.


          And spin...., well, spin is just a polite word for propaganda. It’s a way of lying so that you can claim that you didn’t actually lie.


          And frankly, it’s insulting to you and me as ordinary Americans. It makes it harder for us to do our job as citizens.


          It’s awfully easy to forget that we are the government, and that if God ever decides to hold this country accountable, it is all of us that are going to pay the price.

And there. I did it. I put God in the equation, and that is the fundamental issue on the table in this country today.


          Are we a nation under God, or are we determined to divorce ourselves from God?


          The vast majority in this country want no such thing.


          They may not understand what it is that God wants of us.


          They may not be ready to let God be the Lord of their life.


          But they are sure not ready to ask God to go away.

As this country becomes increasing polarized, hardly anyone wants to talk about the central political issue being fought out today.


          The issue is whether we will be a nation under God.


          Or whether we will become a Godless nation.


          The Islamists think we are already there. They watch our political battles and call us infidels.


          Well? Are we? As a nation, I mean.


          Are we a nation under God, however imperfectly, or are we an infidel nation?

Once in a while, someone stumbles over the truth and tells us. Sometimes people listen, and sometimes they don’t.


John Leo, writing in U.S. News (December 15, 2003), looked into the increasing polarization of the American voter and saw clearly what is going on. His article was titled, “Splitting Society, not Hairs.”

“The more polarized American society becomes, the more we see intellectuals

explaining that this polarization isn’t real -- it’s just the swordplay of

media and political elites.

Each new bundle of evidence saying "We’re deeply divided" is closely

followed by some prominent commentator saying, "No, we’re not." Last

month, the Pew Research Center released a major survey of today’s

political landscape. The title of the study said it all: "Evenly Divided

and Increasingly Polarized." Andrew Kohut, director of Pew, told me the

anger level is so high that if the demonstrators of 1968 had felt like

this, "there would have been gunfire in the streets."


Not everyone agrees with that assessment, but I have to tell you that I have never, not in all my 70 years, seen this kind of polarization, even hatred, over political issues.

“Is this really so?” Asks John Leo, “If polarization is essentially confined to a small

 numbers of actors clashing swords in front of klieg lights, why do polls

 show that the number of centrists and swing votes are dwindling? This

 would explain why both parties seem to spend so much time and money

 appealing to their base -- they are no longer convinced that there is much

 of a middle to appeal to.”


True swing voters may be down to 7 percent of the electorate.

Whatever the numbers, it does seem that there is a narrower strip of land for the undecided to stand on.

Now this may come as a surprise to you, but the dominant issue causing this increasing polarization is religion.


Most of the fighting goes on about moral issues.


The biggest noise in the Clinton administration was moral. He sodomized a young whitehouse intern and then lied about it.


And the hatred toward President Bush is that he stole the election and lied about the reasons for war with Iraq.


Both, moral issues.

But without God, there is no basis for morals beyond human nature.

There is a new word coming into the political vocabulary of the country.


The word is secularism: indifference to, or rejection, or exclusion of religion and religious considerations.

            Another word for secular would be Godless.


It is a move to keep religion out of public life. And, of course, if religion must go, then so must God.

Hence the fight to get God out of the pledge of allegiance, and the Ten Commandments

out of the courthouse.


Leo lays this on the table for us to consider:

      Consider too the growing polarization that pits secularists against

      religious people. In the 2000 senate race in New York, two-thirds of

      secularists voted for Hillary Clinton and two thirds of religious people

      voted for Rick Lazio. This kind of split showed up in House races around

      the country in 2000, says Louis Bolce, an associate professor of political

      science at Baruch College in New York City. The Pew study shows that the

      most religious states vote Republican, the least religious go Democratic.

      More and more, religiously committed people tend to vote Republican,

      largely because of "the increased prominence of secularists within the

      Democratic party and the party’s resulting antagonism toward traditional

      values." That’s the judgment of Bolce and his... colleague, Gerald De



      “The gap started opening at the 1972 Democratic convention that nominated

      George McGovern: a third of the white delegates were secular, compared

      with 5 percent of the general population. By 1992, the year the culture

      war is said to have broken into the open, 60 percent of first-time white

      delegates to the Democratic convention were secularists or nominally

      religious people who said they attend services five times year or less.

      The secular-religious gap, larger than the gender and class gaps

      journalists like to focus on, is simply not on the media radar. Bolce and

      De Maio think the Republicans became the traditionalist party almost by

      default -- it had less to do with Republican efforts than the impact of

      secular progressives on the Democratic party. Many secularists in the

      Republican party are leaving to vote Democratic. The most intensely

      religious Democrats are heading the other way. The obvious word for a

      shift like this is polarization.


     “ Like most analysts who say they see no polarization, Samuelson cites

      America’s great improvement in racial attitudes and increased tolerance

      for homosexuals. True, but left unsaid is that a fierce and apparently

      growing majority of Americans oppose gay marriage (up 6 points to 59

      percent, according to Pew) and an even larger percentage of the public

      opposes racial preferences. (Wolfe found that 76 percent of blacks and 83

      percent of whites oppose preferences even when the euphemism "priority" is

      used in the question). These are not random findings but hot-button issues

      in a continuing war over basic values. If the left keeps using the courts

      to impose minority opinions on unwilling majorities, conflict will broaden

      and intensify.”


And this brings me back to my question of liberals vs. conservatives’


I think these labels have lost their meaning.

            The real battle going on is a religious battle.

It is a battle between Theism and Secularism.


Secularism is probably short for Secular humanism:

a humanistic philosophy viewed as a nontheistic religion antagonistic to traditional religion;


i.e., it is a godless religion.


And like any other religion, it is jealous of other religions.

The political war in the USA right now is a religious war. It’s time everyone woke up to it.


          The confusion over this issue is even muddying the waters around the Iraq war.


          People try to pretend that the war on terror is not a religious war. This is a dangerous mistake.


          The war on terror is entirely a religious war. We didn’t make it so. They did.

Where does the road we are taking lead us? Where will we end up?

Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”


          And it is right here that Paul lays down the challenge for Christian people. Are we ashamed of the Gospel of Christ?


          Because the only way the direction of this country can be changed is by the simple and old means of evangelism–one person at a time.


          If we aren’t willing to persuade people of the truth of Gospel, who will?

Romans 1:18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who [suppress] the truth in unrighteousness;

19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest to them; for God hath showed it unto them.

20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”


          This could be the epitaph of this country.


          We knew God.


          There was a time when we were thankful. But somewhere along the road, someone decided for us that we didn’t need a creator.


          We evolved to the place we are today, and our destiny is to make ourselves better and greater.


          But we have no idea what better and greater are, beyond our own descriptions and decisions.


          Our country is today divided between those who have chosen God and those who have chosen man–as the standard of what is right and what is wrong.

Romans 1:22 “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”


          We are the people, wisdom will die with us.


          We know.


          And what we don’t know, we will find out.


Psalms 50:16-22 (NIV) "But to the wicked, God says: ‘What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips? {17} You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you. {18} When you see a thief, you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers. {19} You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit. {20} You speak continually against your brother and slander your own mother's son. {21} These things you have done and I kept silent; you thought I was altogether like you. But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face. {22} Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with none to rescue:’"

Paul continues.

Romans 1:24 “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”


          Is this the kind of person you want for a neighbor?


          Increasingly, it is going to be the kind of person you get.


          For there is a force at work in this country that is determined to drive God out of public life.


          There are those who look with ill disguised contempt on you who believe in God.

You can’t speak to these people in the jargon of the church.


          You are going to have to talk to them as Jesus did. With authority. One person at a time.

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