Saturday, May 07, 2011

America's Need for a 'Public Good'

By the Rev. Howard Bess
May 7, 2011

The United States was never meant to be a Christian nation. Instead, the Founders envisioned a secular state in which religion would be pursued with complete freedom, but they also understood the need for the young nation to have a moral compass.

Read on.


ChMoore said...

I second your statement that America was not designed to be religiously alligned.

Working both ways - freedom of religion from government domination also has the benefit of freedom of government from religious domination - although we're still working on it.

The achilles heel is that if churches want to benefit from non-profit tax-exempt status, they're not supposed to directly influence government.

In spite of that, many churches could do better. An example near me of one who does do better, is All Saints Church in Pasadena. They've become nationally known for butting heads with the IRS, resulting from their support for progressive political causes.

Gregory L Kruse said...

I’m afraid we have gone past the crossroads. To recover we would have to turn around and go back. The church has never been a guiding light for the rich and powerful who are actually leading. It has served as cover for them, or has been in collusion with them, but has never been them. These days in particular, but as always to some degree, people do not follow pastors; certainly not when they are headed to the cross. Looking at history over thousands of years, it becomes clear that politics and religion ARE separate. Religious people should not become political leaders because they will cease to be religious, and politicians should not be motivated by religion because they will be theocrats. You cannot serve both God and mammon. Jesus never exerted power over the political process or even tried to influence it. He didn’t even write down what he was saying. He didn’t challenge the repressive regimes of his day. He was executed by politicians at the behest of theocrats pretending to defend God. The politician didn’t want to do it, and a true lover of God wouldn’t have done it, but because the two were intertwined, they did it. The religious Right was not so political until the rich and powerful got the bright idea to propagandize them. History and evolution both make it clear that life seldom if ever backtracks to correct itself. It just adds on another fix on top of all the other fixes until the system crashes of its own weight or complexity. This experiment called the US Constitution has come to an apparent dead end, and we can only hope and pray that another path is found somewhere up ahead.