A Christian Nation?
December 29, 2010
Almost two weeks ago, when Congress was arguing about taxes and extended unemployment benefits, Steven Colbert ran the following segment on his show:
http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/368914/december-16-2010/jesus-is-a-liberal-democrat?xrs=share_copy (I wish I could embed this, but WordPress doesn’t support Comedy Central’s video player)
There were a lot of things I liked the about this clip, but the statement “If this is going to be a Christian Nation that doesn’t help the poor, then we’ve got to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are or we’ve got acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit…, we just don’t want to do it” rated a fist pump and a “YES!” Why did I like this so much? Because I hear conservatives constantly going on about how the United States is a Christian Nation and then advocating some very unChristian things. Like, cutting taxes for the rich and blocking social programs that help the poor. Quoting Colbert again, “Jesus was always flappin’ gums about the poor, but not once did he call for tax cuts for the richest two percent of Romans”. In the story of the rich young ruler, Jesus tells the wealthy man to sell all his possessions and follow Him. So, if you’re really a Christian, asking you to pay more in taxes is actually less than what Jesus was asking for. I don’t see the problem here.
The trouble with saying that we’re a Christian nation isn’t so much about history or rights or any of the other things that get brought when this is mentioned. The trouble is that we don’t act like a Christian nation. We never have. In our history, we’ve enslaved people, persecuted them because of their race, creed, sexual preference or any number of other reasons, fought wars that were anything but just, created a permanent underclass and worked very hard to keep them there…, I could go on, but I think you get the point. I’m drawn to portions of the quote I mentioned in the first paragraph, “If this is going to be a Christian Nation…we’ve got acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition…” Yeah, I just picked certain parts of that quote; I picked the parts that gave me hope. Hope that maybe someday, we’ll live up to the title of “Christian Nation” and do the things in that out-of-context quote. Hope that one day, as a nation, we’ll love the poor and serve the needy…, without condition.