Methinks he doth protest too much

>> Friday, September 9, 2011

I originally wrote this as a status update for Facebook but it was about 53 characters too long and I didn't want to cut it off and. So, I decided to just expand it into a blog post. :-) The opportunity to wax eloquent (in my mind) notwithstanding, I will endeavor to keep this short and in the style of an opinion commentary. :-)

While driving home from work today, I listened to a prominent Evangelical leader being interview about the exclusion of religious leaders from the 9/11 memorial in New York City, an exclusion which elicited much dismay and outrage from him. To a great extent I share his dismay and sorrow caused by this event and a general trend to reject our historic faith, but I am also very concerned by the reaction of many Christians to these things. Many seem to think it necessary and good to loudly decry such treatment as "un-American" and "disrespectful" and call for some sort of socio/political action to arm twist the organizers of this event into including religious leaders, particularly those of an Evangelical stripe. To this, the famous line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act III, and Scene II comes to mind. Methinks we doth protest too much.

I absolutely believe America has historically been a "Christian Nation", but it also seems apparent beyond dispute that we are an increasingly secular nation. Practically speaking, outraged and dismayed insistence to the contrary won't alter that fact, and spiritually speaking we should carefully consider what eternal value is to be gained from such expression in this sort of matter. It seems most consistent with scripture and in keeping with an eternal perspective to simply and respectfully state (and demonstrate) the enormous and overwhelmingly positive role of Christianity in the fundamental shaping of this country...and leave it at that. Brow beating and arm twisting is a distinctly political tool - not necessarily a Christian tool - and the Christian should be quite prepared to accept rejection and ridicule from the world and continue about the task[s] given to us by Him without fear, discouragement or anger.

As an aside, I agree with Dennis Prager wholeheartedly when he calls for "clarity above agreement" and believe this principle is important for Christians to consider as we engage with and in the world. I would rather a person openly reject my God than that they pretend adherence to it if that is their true spiritual state...especially if that person is seeking to benefit from such pretension.

For Christians, increasing secularization simply emphasizes the need to "be holy" as He is holy (I Peter 1:13-16) and study to show ourselves approved (II Timothy 2:15) so that we are always ready to humbly and gently give an account of the hope that lies within (I Peter 3:13-15). Perhaps we should consider the possibility that we have strayed from the basic tenets of our faith and hope and have become more conformed to the patterns of this world than we ought.

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2)


God bless and veritas supra omnis!


Nathan September 9, 2011 at 11:42 PM  

I agree, Mark, and I've thought this for a while--if, instead of almost belligerently insisting that America is a Christian nation, we spent our efforts becoming more like Christ ourselves, and fulfilling His commandments, such as forgiving each other and loving our enemies, doing our righteousness privately for God and not publicly for men, perhaps America would once again turn to God. But if we demand some sort of political statement of the nation's religious affiliation, that will change neither our hearts nor the hearts of unbelievers, and it will deceive no one.

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