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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Boyd: Where is the love?

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If the United States of America is a Christian nation — as many believe it is — how do we reflect Christ’s love? As a nation? As individuals? In the way we govern? In the way we operate businesses?

I often think about this as I reflect on this country’s history as well as current events.
What makes one think we are a Christian nation? Is it because “In God we trust” is on our money? Or maybe it’s because in our Pledge of Allegiance we say “One nation under God.” Or could it be because the Declaration of Independence states we have “unalienable rights endowed by their Creator” that makes this a Christian nation?

I could go into the fact that this country was not founded as a Christian nation. It was, in fact, purposely created to be a secular government and open to other religions. Many of the Founding Fathers didn’t want to recreate what they just left, so they kept church and state separate. But arguing whether or not the U.S. is a Christian nation isn’t the point of this column. Instead, I’d like to know how we demonstrate what we profess we are. This has always baffled me.

When I go down this path, I’m reminded of the Greatest Commandment. In Matthew 22:34-40, Jesus was asked by a Pharisee, who was an expert of the law, what is the greatest commandment, the one that is most important to adhere to. Jesus answered: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.”

The constant I see in this passage of Scripture is love. Love of God, humanity and self. Love. It’s real simple. But it’s so darn hard!

When I think about slavery, I don’t see Jesus’ words reflected there. Jim Crow? Nope. Eugenics? Nope. Tuskegee Experiment? Nope. Mass incarceration? Nope. Racism? Nope. Sexism? Nope. Homphobia? Nope. Transphobia? Nope. Ageism? Nope. Ableism? Nope. The Insurrection of Jan. 6? Nope.

I could go on, but I think you’re getting the point. Sure, there are pockets of goodness and love in our history and happening today. But I’m referring to the general sentiment of the country. If I’m from another country or another galaxy, could I easily see the Christian values we profess to follow, or would I see contradictions everywhere I glance?

I see contradictions. I see hate. I see hate happening in the name of Jesus and God. Many times the haters play the victim. Their values are being assaulted, they say, and this is why they must fight back. But that’s more about control and believing your beliefs and way of life are superior. It’s appalling to me that many who say they’re Christians are the main ones fighting against anything that doesn’t fit into their small, narrow-minded view of what the U.S. should be. Again, this view never espouses love.

Doesn’t sound Christ-like to me.

Going to church and believing in Jesus Christ as your personal savior isn’t enough to make this a Christian nation. I’m not a theologian or Biblical scholar, but I know enough to know you must have action to your words — “faith without works is dead” is what I was taught.

This is where I differ with those who want this to be a Christian nation but show hate not love. I believe the fight for equity and justice is about love — a love for humanity. It’s not about one person or group of people being better than another. It’s about everyone in this country being allowed to pursue life, liberty and happiness. Your (legal) pursuit doesn’t have to mirror mine, and it doesn’t have to make me feel comfortable. That’s the beauty of love. Maybe one day the country that is all about Christ will actually emulate him.

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