An Open Letter to Christians

My fellow Christians,

I’ve noticed an interesting trend in conservative Religious Right rhetoric – on the one hand, we espouse that we want our freedom of religion and, interestingly, we invoke often our religion about how we need to resist interference in the government. Still, on the other hand, we wish to strong arm our own view of Christian morality (and I mean this in the most respectful sense of the phrase) to American society – using the governmental apparatus of laws. Surely, the left hand really doesn’t know what the right hand does in this situation.

I’m not saying we don’t need morality. If anything, in our post-modern landscape of “anything goes,” we need strong cultural mores to anchor us in a solid base of what we believe to be right. In a world of relativism taken to the extreme, sometimes we need rights and beliefs and values we strongly believe and demonstrate in our daily lives. But let’s take an observation from the Bible – when Jesus began to teach his radical message of love, peace, and forgiveness, he began in the streets and the crowds, serving all who came to him. He did not take his message to Rome, to the throne of Caesar, and convince him to legislate the Sermon on the Mount.

And so, this brings me to my next plea: Please stop using the government. As one Christian to another, I want to warn you – when you begin to use the government to control education and to enforce morality, you lose sight of the thing Christ wants us to have most and the one thing you profess can change the world. Faith.

You remember faith, right? Faith in Jesus Christ, faith in His Gospel, faith in His teachings, faith in His words. Our very religion revolves around this important concept of faith. We believe in the faith of our fathers and when we profess who we are, we witness to the Christian faith. This all encompassing word means so much for us that Martin Luther cried out sola fide! – faith alone!

But when you start to use the government as a hammer for our God, it will only lead to our destruction because of the lack of your faith.

You lack faith in your children to know right from wrong, to be able to determine themselves what is good and what is bad, what is truth and what is lies.

You lack faith in your fellow man, unable to see the good around you. Despite your constant declarations that America is a Christian nation, you exhibit a deep mistrust for your neighbors, who by definition, should be following Christian morals. You feel government, not good Christian judgment and witness, must stop this perceived immorality.

You lack faith in your religion. Instead of spending your wealth to fund missionaries, to fund programs, to fund churches, instead of relying on the power of the Holy Spirit, you rely on man-made legislation and “political change” to protect us. You have more trust in the mortal, governmental arm of the flesh than the arm of God.

You lack faith in your own God, who promises to be your vanguard and your rearguard, to be a pillar of fire that will lead you to the promised land, insomuch you remain pure and unsullied from this world. Instead, you rely on politicians who profess a deep love and devotion for this country and our religion, but who will ultimately fail in some point in time as every man falters in his life.

And you have little to no faith in yourself. Though you claim to be sinful, you also claim to have felt that transforming power of God. But you are afraid that you cannot teach your children correctly, so you force the school boards to do it for you. Do you also feel that if abortion or gay marriage was a legal possibility that you would cave into such a temptation? That your fellow Christians will also falter at such a possibility? And do you believe legislating Christ’s laws into comparable but false laws of Rome will cease such sinful practices? That the power of Caesar is necessary as a weapon and shield to build the Kingdom of God?

Our nation is one that knows no borders. Our city is the city of God, not the city of man. Let us band together as Christians and change our lives and our homes first. Then, let us change our communities – but not with the corruptible laws of the world, but with the spirit of God that shines through our countenances. Let us enact real lasting change in people through example and faith and word and deed, not through the seal of human government, subordinate to the almighty power of God. Let us use who we are, not who we know, to teach others that there is real strength in building character and living morally. And let us remember, my Christian brothers and sisters, that the minute we touch the unclean thing we lose that spiritual power within us. The minute we take our eyes off of Christ and look about the storm surrounding us and lose hope and faith and attempt to swim against the storm ourselves, that is when we begin to sink into the perilous deep.

The arm of Christ is extended towards us. Let us catch hold of it and repudiate and reject the arm of the flesh before it is too late.

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2 Comments

Filed under religion, wordsmithing

2 responses to “An Open Letter to Christians

  1. supercub127

    …but faith without works (namely voting according to one’s conscience and raising one’s children to live correctly), is dead. Its nice to have faith that my kids will choose right and wrong, but will they if I don’t teach them? If I don’t promote an environment and society that will help them along their way?
    Governments are ordained of God, and using the government to enact laws the follow our conscience is in no way a lack of faith. Neither is teaching ones kids to make the right decisions.

  2. Ted

    I agree with you that faith without works is dead. And I have no problems with teaching your children and raising them up to the Lord. In fact, I would greatly encourage that.

    But when it comes to voting according to or morals, we must be careful. The political realm is not God’s realm, and as Hugh Nibley says, as the world around us crumbles, rebuilds, and then crumbles again, we are quietly building Zion, independent of the world (St. Augustine expresses similar opinions in his book The City of God). Our political freedom is tied to religious freedom and our religious freedom is tied to tolerance. I know this sounds radical and possibly even heretical, but I would assert very strongly that in order for us to legislate anything as “morality” we must be able to argue it outside of a religious standpoint. Why? Because if the only reason we support a law is “because x religion said so,” then it violates the First Amendment granting religious protection and freedom in the land by not holding up any one religion as the standard, and it gives precedent for religion y to try and pass laws as well on the same logic – possibly to the harm of religion x.

    And as Mormons, we should understand the very dangerous precedent when one religion gains control of the governmental apparatus and starts discriminating against other religions they do not like. I would hope we do not forget that lesson any time soon.

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