Does anyone else find it strange that the area of America nicknamed “The Bible Belt” is in the same general area of America nicknamed “Tornado Alley”?
And by strange I mean incredibly ironic and hilariously irrefutable!
I was recently on a Christian website scrolling through a list of sermons about Atheism and I came across this ad:
Initially, it literally made me laugh out loud at the ridiculous-ness of it. “Learn” how to pray? …Huh? Isn’t prayer just talking to yourself in your head and hoping someone/something hears it and does something about it? Isn’t prayer personal and customized to fit nicely with your inner voice? And how does praying for our leaders differ from that? Is there a special chant or rhyme that must be used in order for the prayer to make its way up to god so that he’ll immediately know to give this prayer preference because it is for a leader? I was clearly curious so, naturally, I clicked on the link. Here is the description I found:
“‘It is a great privilege, as well as our responsibility, to pray for our government leaders.’ – Billy Graham
This helpful pamphlet helps guide you through what the Bible says about how to pray and about our government leaders. Also included are scripture references and ways to specifically pray for our leaders. The back has space for the names of local, state and federal leaders to be written, so they can be prayed for by name. Great tool for your congregation to encourage prayer for our nation! ” Billygrahambookstore.org
After reading the description and the hilarity subsided, I was left with a disturbing feeling of confusion. Most evangelicals disagree with our current government as well as the progress being made on social issues like abortion and marriage equality so, why would they be so light-heartedly praying for them? Then it hit me: They aren’t! This prayer guide is a rouse. It’s a cover up. They aren’t encouraging simple prayer for our nation (which is disturbing enough in and of itself) but rather, they are encouraging government in church under the guise of prayer.
It’s amazing, really. Without blatantly advertising the discussion of politics and government in their congregation (which would be illegal under their current tax-exempt status) they are disguising it as prayer. And how can one pray for our political leaders unless they know what they are praying for and how to do it? This then gives them an excuse to discuss it in the church and find themselves nice and warm and safe in the comfort of their loop-hole. They can’t legally tell their congregation who to vote for (although this is done quite often), but they can encourage prayer for a particular candidate whose views align with their own. Or even a prayer that an opponent of their chosen candidate wakes up to god and “reality” to find his/her proper way.
Woah. Votes disguised as prayers. Who would have thought?
I have another thought: How about when you are in church you do less talking about grown-up stuff like politics and law and more talking about your cute little fairy-tale book with its magical stories? Or, if you insist on playing with the big-dogs, how about you pay your fucking taxes like everyone else and earn that right?
People, organizations and/or mindless groups of blindly devoted idiots who do not contribute to society financially should have no say in what society does financially; whether in regards to funding social services or otherwise. The government is holding up its end of the bargain by keeping itself out of the church (tax exemption), it is time that the church start holding up its end of the bargain and staying out of government (prayer/vote brainwashing).
Many Christians argue that America was founded on Christian morals and beliefs. I have never really been able to grasp that crazy concept especially given the fact that we were founded based on a collective agreement that religion in government is a bad thing and we no longer wanted to be oppressed by it. Religious oppression is the very reason America is HERE today! So, why circle back? Well, we are on track for doing just that.
From 1892 to 1954, god was not mentioned in our pledge of allegiance. It took the Communist scare of the early 50’s to get the word “God” added to anything. You see, at that time, communists were known atheists and since we did not want to align ourselves with communism in any way, we over reacted (weird) and added the word “God” to everything so that it was known that we weren’t atheist therefore we could not be communist either (this is a gross over-simplification of the entire ordeal, but you get the point).
“Senator Homer Ferguson sponsored a bill to add the words ‘under God’ to the Pledge. On June 8, 1954, the bill was approved as joint resolution and signed into law on June 14, Flag Day. That day President Eisenhower said, “From this day forward, the millions of our schoolchildren will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural schoolhouse, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty.” The alteration made the Pledge both a patriotic pledge and a public prayer.” ( Buzzle )
Flag Day became a horrible, horrible day and a giant step backwards for Americans. But, I digress…
It is in America’s nature to be constantly in the pursuit of wealth and success. Wealth means you succeeded in your pursuit of the “American Dream” and that monetary success is highly frowned upon in the Bible:
“And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24
We value individualism, free speech and the power of dissention. But the Bible says that we should submit ourselves to “every ordinance of man” :
“Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.” 1 Peter 2:13-14
Ok. Most of us abide by the law, even if we disagree. But what if our laws and values are contradictory to god’s laws and values?
The Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:3-2, 7-10, 12-17
1. “You shall have no other gods before Me.
We idolize our favorite celebs.
2. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;
These things sell like hot cakes!
3. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
4. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.
35% of all working Americans work on the weekend and 51% of those working more than one job do, too. How much do you want to bet that one of the days they work is a Sunday?
5. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
We have a culture of getting rid of our parents as they age and become bothersome.
6. “You shall not murder.
7. “You shall not commit adultery.
Yes, this is completely real. It actually exists.
8. “You shall not steal.
9. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Look at any magazine or newspaper rack in America (who am I kidding… look anywhere online!) and find stories of people blaming others, telling lies and living in deceit.
10. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey (I prefer to say ass. It sounds funnier and I’m really mature.), nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
Plastic surgery is a BOOMING industry in the US. Everyone wants what they don’t have!
American values rarely align themselves with Christian values and for that, I am glad. Of course there are some virtuous Christian values and some awful American values, but, if it were up to me (and it is) I would pick American values over Christian values any day.
I value working hard and earning what I have while recognizing that others around me may not be so fortunate (and doing something to help!). I value education, growth and progression. I value the freedom to think and believe anything I want as well as to question anything and everything. I value equality and rights. I value accountability and being held responsible for my actions. Most Americans value these things as well.
I do not, however, value ignorance or submission. I do not value blind faith in things that may or may not exist. I do not value holding on to useless traditions that stunt growth and progress. I do not value needless guilt for things I cannot help. I do not value living to anyone’s standards but my own. And, unfortunately, these are the things most Christians do value.
America is NOT a Christian nation and I am proud of that. I refuse to stand by and watch it ever become one.