Saturday, September 26, 2015

America, Enemy of the Faith

When I was a child, I used to love the Left Behind books. They painted a picture of a world in which the Christian Faith, so dominant in my upbringing, had been divested of its prominence, stigmatized, and eventually openly persecuted. The days of the early Church, of martyrs and prophets, were re-imagined in the modern world, as God made His last desperate attempts to offer salvation to a people whose hearts grew cold.

As one who has always had his difficulties with the Christian message of love and service, the idea of being a part of the Philadelphian Church, who must merely, "have kept My word and have not denied My name" (Revelation 3:8) was very appealing. The message to Philadelphia:
"Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name." (Revelation 3:11,12)
is a lot more positive, and looks to take a lot less work than the order sent to my proper Church, that of Laodicea:
"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see."

"Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me." (Revelation 3:15-20)
Repentance just seems like so much effort, you know?

Well, it seems as though I might just get my wish. Why God granted this one, and not the one with the supermodels, I do not know. The fact is that we now live in a country that has headlines such as these: "School investigating mass baptism at football practice." A country in which a message opposing mass murder an an unprecedented scale is considered "Hate Material" because it invokes the Christian God. Where adherence to the sanctity of the Christian Sacraments is sufficient to send a public official to jail. If Christianity is not yet openly persecuted in the States, it is certainly disfavored.

Of course, merely looking at it from a domestic perspective ignores America's actions on the world stage. These are far more alarming. From the destruction of Middle Eastern Christianity to the bombing of Orthodox Christians in Kosovo, the United States has unambiguously fought against Christianity for decades.

In the face of this, American Christians still miss the obvious: the United States is unambiguously the enemy of the Christian religion. Endless is the chorus of American Christian voices advocating the restoration of America, saying that we must make America strong. Heaven forbid!

The fact is, America, even if its worst abuses could be curbed, would still be an impediment to the living of the Christian Faith.
"Bunning [the judge who imprisoned Davis] acknowledged the role that religion can play in someone's life, but said that should not interfere with their ability to do their job. The judge said he is Catholic and the Catholic church says you must have an annulment before you can get remarried. He asked Davis: What would prevent a Catholic clerk from not issuing a marriage license to a divorced person?"
In this case what is preventing him appears to be a mixture of Laodicean apathy and the worship of Mammon instead of Christ. "Just do your job!" "Go shopping more!" These are little more than snares in which we are caught. Read Christ's message to Laodicea again: simply going along, "doing ones' job" isn't good enough.

Americanism has long taken on aspects of being a unique faith. For a long time, this faith coexisted with the Christian one, evoking concepts of the "city on a hill" or a "New Israel." Although many of the values of Americanism: Deism, Liberalism, Tolerance, and the deification of Science, were of Enlightenment, not Christian vintage, nonetheless a modus vivendi could be had between them.

However as the Church wanes and the Enlightenment metastasizes, Americanism has begun to more vigorously assert its claims. It openly asserts its goal to remove Christianity from public life, which means to take its place in the allegiances of its citizens. And thus the Church returns once more to Rome, to an empire that will brook no competition with it's claim to divine supremacy. But neither will our Lord:
"I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me."(Exodus 20:2,3)
On this day, the battle lines have become clear and we must choose who to stand with. Let us all say to the great deciever, "[...]as for me and my house, we will serve Yahweh."(Joshua 24:15)

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