by Gray Graham
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you
Have you ever wondered why so many American evangelical Christians seem to oppose policies and ideas that are what everyone else considers the teachings of Jesus? If you know me or have followed me for awhile you will know that I bring up this issue often, probably everyday that I post because service of God is my life.
This is why when I come across others that identify as Christians who hold beliefs that go against what Jesus taught I ask the question why? I can not tell you how many discussions I have had about Jesus, what he taught, and how that applies to living life today. One thing that always sticks out is why are Christians in America so different from Christians in the rest of the world in their beliefs.
Seeing some of the comments shared over the past 7 years by Christian evangelicals, be they White or African American, has left me beyond perplexed. This is why you often hear me ask, have you actually read your Bible. Not studied it, but have you actually read it. The answer is always yes followed by a statement that clearly demonstrates that they have not and if they had they would not have understood it.
It also explains why there are some African Americans and other minorities that express beliefs that are the same as traditionally White evangelicals. Once some were allowed to be part of the evangelical movement they started accepting the same beliefs. They know that being an evangelical will help you go far in America, especially for your career, so that is the path that they choose. Just take a look at Christian TV channels. You will see just as many minority evangelicals as you will see traditional White evangelicals, both delivering the same message.
That message is of the rapture. It is a message you will hear over and over again. American Christianity is built on the belief that Jesus is going to return, destroy your enemies, and you will receive a reward for your hard work on Earth. The compassion and love of Christ has been switched out with a quest for money which of course leads to power and destruction. Jesus is the most peaceful man that ever lived yet people have waged war in his name for centuries and that unfortunately continues today.
These days in church you are more likely to hear a political speech instead of a sermon about God. You will see a lot of Bible verses taken out of context to justify some political view or intolerance that the speaker holds. It was the same during slavery, the Native American wars, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, women's suffrage, New Deal, and every other social movement that has occurring in the last 150 years.
This is probably the most forgotten part of American history as it is the true foundation of our country and is why we have the 1st Amendment in the first place. The founders wanted to make sure that the government would never be able to control their religious messages because it was guaranteed that they were going to have beliefs that would conflict with the government. With that history it is hard to believe that religion and politics have become one and the same in our country today. This is why every policy decision we make today is shaped around a religious belief and virtue.
I say often that if you think you are going to change the minds of people who hold these beliefs you are sadly mistaken. It is a part of who they are. The beliefs they hold have been in their families for over a hundred years. There is a reason that America in 2014 looks basically just like it did in 1864 and the beliefs are still the same. America has a history of demonstrating very un-Christ-like behavior while professing they are doing the work of God.
As followers of Christ we must understand that it is more important for us to be messengers of God than it is for us to be patriots of America. They are not one of the same. America has done very evil things over the years, but God has never done anything that is wrong. Contrary to what you might have heard there is never an excuse for doing an evil deed. One day God's judgment will let many know that very thing. Until then we need to learn to love our enemies as we love ourselves.