One Nation under God?

The Jesuit Provincials in the United States have developed a meditation to help them discern the role of Jesuits in our society and the church. The document, “A Mediation on our Response to the Call of Christ” is available on the internet. Google the title.
What they have written is very helpful in defining our role as workers for social justice. It also helps put what I wrote last Memorial Day into context.
“Our country is one of the most ‘faith-filled’ in history, with high rates of church attendance, numerous religious media outlets, and strong religious claims on public policy. Out of that shared faith we have seen countless acts of generous service and compelling movements of greater unity and acceptance among the churches. Yet some of that faith is nominal and domesticated, often inclined to ignore the cross as it focuses on self-fulfillment and the protection of privilege. The challenging and transforming power of the Gospels and the call of Christ to the Great Commandment of Love are easily repressed if faith is made to conform to us rather than being conformed to the will of God.”

Last Memorial Day weekend many people were touting Diamond Rio’s In God We Still Trust. It was heard in churches and at celebrations across the country. If we trust God and if we are one nation under God,

• Why do we legalize the killing of unborn children?
• Why do we euthanize old people?
• Why do we execute people to show people that killing people is wrong?
• Why do we continue to develop and stockpile more and more sophisticated nuclear weapons?
• Why do we fight unjust, preemptive wars, for trumped up reasons, so we can control oil and other resources?
• Why do we spend three quarters of a trillion on arms, weapons, and defense while millions of Americans and people around the world go to bed hungry every night?
• Why do we allow 30,000 children to die every day from preventable causes?
• Why do we pass tax breaks for the wealthy while cutting programs which assist the poor?
• Why do we allow people to live in poverty amid inordinate affluence?
• Why do we discriminate against people because of the color of their skin and their social class?
• Why do we discriminate against people based on their sexual preferences?
• Why do we pursue economic policies which keep people in America and around the world in destitute poverty?
• Why do we set up a cumbersome, unmanageable immigration system so that people cannot gain entry into America?
• Why do we buy goods produced in sweatshops?
• Why do we campaign for office by building fences and deporting undocumented workers who are essential to our economy?
• Why do we fail to recognize Jesus in the face of the poor and oppressed?
• Why do we train soldiers from other countries at the School of the Americas so they can go home and oppress, kill and “disappear”their fellow countrymen?
• Why do we pursue free trade agreements which close American factories and then dump our subsidized agricultural products on other countries thus putting their people out of work too?
• Why do we support unjust leaders around the world who rip-off and oppress their own people?

I was just wondering because it does not seem like acknowledging that we are a Christian nation that still trusts in God has much impact on how we act. We have been told that we will be judged not on words but on truth and deeds. Are our deeds congruent with what we profess? We can display the Ten Commandments in every courthouse and school. We can pledge as one nation under God every day. But, until we examine our actions in light of the message of the non-violent Jesus who proclaimed glad tidings to the poor, set captives free, and gave sight to the blind, we are really stretching it to say that we still trust in God. My starting point is Jesus’ announcement of his mission in Luke 4: 16 -21. This describes his mission in his day and defines our mission as Christians today.

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