Monday, July 2, 2012

Faith Meets Nationalism

This is a letter that I included on the front cover of the July 1 worship bulletin at First UMC of Brighton:

As we approach an important national holiday, celebrating the independence of our nation, we face the question of how our faith is connected to our national pride and responsibilities as citizens.

Many people talk about “separation of church and state,” but I have found that the separation that people truly want is separation from ideologies that don’t match their own. This makes the struggle to live together as a diverse people difficult and even polarizing.

I do not believe as disciples of Christ that we can be separated from our faith in any realm of life. We cannot step through any door, be it a private home or public institution, and not be influenced by our faith. This means that when we consider the deeds of our nation, the leadership of our elected officials and the use of our taxes, we must ask hard questions about how we care for all God’s creation and humanity. We will certainly have different opinions on how the work is to be accomplished and by whom, but at the core, our faith can inform us.

The First Amendment was not created to limit the use of our faith in forming our decisions; it was created to protect our right to be informed by faith. We can be thankful for the greatness of our nation, penitent for its failures and determined to help in the challenges that face our nation.

Central to this day is giving thanks for God, who by grace offers us a blessed way to act in the world.

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