Sometimes I Am Embarrassed To Be A Christian

I was reading the USA Today the other day when I ran across an article about one of the newest members of Congress. The article was entitled The Truth About Oaths. What is so significant about this newest member of our U.S. Congress? Well, he is our nation’s first Muslim congressman and he wanted to swear on the Quran when he got sworn into Congress. And Christian are up in arms and making statements such as….

“Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned,” Prager wrote, “America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don’t serve in Congress.”

and….

The powerful American Family Association has called for the use of the Bible for all members of Congress. AFA President Tim Wildmon explained that the Quran “represents a change in our society, our culture” if it is to be treated “as equivalent to the Holy Bible.” In perhaps the only point of universal agreement, Wildmon noted that, “If calling the Bible superior to the Quran in American tradition and culture is intolerant, then I’m guilty.”

Prager was equally unapologetic, dismissing the Quran as if it were some book-of-the-month selection: “Forgive me, but America should not give a hoot what Keith Ellison’s favorite book is.”

That is funny, because I do not remember seeing anywhere in our U.S. Constitution where it says that we are exclusively a Christian nation. But somehow Christians have gotten that impression. I know that our nation was founded upon predominantly Christian principles, but our Founding Fathers intentionally created our nation as a secular nation. And written into our U.S. Constitution is this little statement….

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

But the Church and organizations like the American Family Association feel that their should be an amendment to our Constitution requiring people to swear on the Bible, whether or not they believe what it says. But you want to hear something funny about that? Even Iran with it’s Islamic government, which has set itself up specifically as an Islamic nation. Check this out (it is from that article in the USA Today)….

It appears that though the Iranian government denies the Holocaust and calls for the eradication of Israel, it views Prager’s idea of requiring people to swear to someone else’s faith to be … well … extreme. (Iran’s parliament has had a Jewish member, Morris Motamed, for years — though the Jewish population is about 25,000 out of 70 million). Various experts on Iran told me that such tailoring of oaths to religions goes back to early Islam. Indeed, Tehran University professor Hossein Bashiriyeh explained that “an oath taken with a holy book other than one’s own cannot be religiously and morally ‘binding.’ … In effect it will amount to not taking an oath at all.”

They get it. Why can’t Christians? We somehow think that if we change legislation that we will somehow cause everyone in America to bow their knee and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. But I have news for them, it won’t happen. What is going to change them is for us to be a light into this darkened world. We need to understand that it is up to us and not our government to do that. It is time that Christians realize that and start doing something about it. We are great at letting the world know what we are against, but horrible at letting the world know what we are for. Let’s do what we can to stop bringing shame to ourselves.

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Kim, father to Hannah & Caleb, and the connections pastor at The River Church. The thoughts expressed here are my own and not The River Church's.

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