Sunday, May 24, 2015
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Morality in America

Morality in America

When studying the founding of the United States, you can’t help but encounter the faith of the nation’s forefathers. Time and again they recognized God’s hand in the shaping of America. You will find Him repeatedly mentioned in their words and documents. And you will find Him having an active, vibrant role in the country’s early history.

Today, God continues His work in America – but it’s in a nation that has clearly lost its moral compass. Every week, “Morality in America” will address the myriad of moral concerns facing the United States and undermining its Godly heritage.  After you read, remember to intercede in prayer for America – that this nation will return to the Christian standards that once defined it.

America’s Jenga Tower

Morality in America

Is the church in America beginning to outgrow its foundation?

By Louie Christensen

Why did the United States’ maturation into a world power seem instantaneous? The answer is European stagnation. The European countries had already swelled within their borders, and the church had reached its maximum potential within the confines of Europe and the United Kingdom. Entrepreneurs and Christianity needed room to grow, they needed a higher ceiling.

When colonists landed in America, growth wasn’t an option, it was the status quo. The United States grew at neck breaking speed, and the church expanded with it. As civilization spread west, the church was right by its side. God was on the money, and the Bible was in every hotel nightstand drawer. Growth seemed endless. But, is endless expansion wise?

A new study called “Rights, Reflection, and Reciprocity: How Rights Talk Affects the Political Process,” will be released by the end of May. The study was written by political scientists Paul Djupe, Ted Jelen, and Andrew Lewis. The group set out to understand the turbulent cultural battles between sexual freedoms, religious freedoms, and freedom of speech to see if the arguments would lead to greater or lesser tolerance amongst America’s opposing groups.

The authors claim their findings “have identified a fascinating silver lining [to those cultural war battles]. We find that evangelical Christians who are exposed to claims about religious rights actually become more willing to extend First Amendment rights to their ideological opponents. This is, the campaign to reinforce religious liberty might actually increase political tolerance in the long run.”

The 2010 controversy over the Ground Zero mosque – which was back in the news last year – is a perfect example of their findings in action. Thousands of Americans felt like the Islamic group picked a spot too close to Ground Zero to build a mosque. Fearing the house of worship could represent Islamic extremists’ victory over America, they called for the government to stop the mosque from being built. Should American Christians support Islamism’s freedom to build a mosque wherever they are legally permitted (i.e.: zoned) to do so? Or should they encourage the government to halt the construction?

Freedom is either all or nothing, there is no “some.” Constitutionally there are no distinctions between religions, just as there are no distinctions between races in the sentence “all men are created equal.” This means that constitutionally Islamic, Mormon, and Hindu groups must have the same rights as Christianity and Judaism; and to lessen the freedom of one would also lessen the freedoms of the others. So giving the government the right to tell Muslims where they can and cannot build their mosques based on the opinions of concerned citizens will also allow the government to tell Christians where it can build its churches.

The soon to be released study found that this Catch-22 is inching its way into how Evangelicals are viewing the political landscape. The fear of government interference with Christian freedoms has caused believers to side with other religion’s rights in order to insure self-preservations. While Evangelicals have been fervently fighting for their short run victories, the study found that in the long run Evangelicals are becoming increasingly okay with equality. While the report is applauding the church becoming more tolerable to opposing political ideas, the truth is that growth isn’t always a good thing. Christianity in America may have reached a point where building at the same speed as the society around it is no longer a wise decision.

The Constitution of the United States has provided an amazing blueprint on which to build a country full of countless liberties, and because of this Christianity has grown to amazing heights. But, the Constitution has promised everyone equal freedoms, not just Christians, and the effects are finally catching up. In order for the church to grow with America’s rapidly expanding social and political environment, it appears to be adopting a Jenga-like building strategy: leave the supporting blocks as long as possible, and remove non-essential pieces in order to build higher.

In every game of Jenga there is a point where the players stand back and laugh at the grotesquely unstable tower sitting before them, and wonder how it hasn’t fallen yet. It is time to rebuild before the tower of American Christianity falls, and the clanging pieces are scattered across the table.

This week pray for churches across America. Pray that as they continue to find their way through the turbulence of the 21st century, that they never weaken their structure in order to do so. Every piece matters, pray that the church refuses to allows gaps to form.

Louie has been writing articles, short stories and travel essays for several years. He is a guest teacher for honors English classes at a high school in Tucson and a frequent contributor to the Presidential Prayer Team. Louie currently lives and works in Phoenix as an Account Executive for a major tech company.

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