About a week ago, in honor of the 4th of July, I began writing about the laundering that many Christians take part in. Where we are readily able to stand up, throw back our heads, and yell a very deserving God Bless America. As if we ourselves had worked for the America we now reside in. And with this creed, we continually miss the point, that we don’t deserve a thing.
I have thought about this a lot, on just how and where we go wrong. And I think, at its core, we seem to lose sight in the washing of our “sins” from the corporatocracy that owns our beloved country. As we sit silently by, and buy the goods that these mega corporations offer us. We seem to feel that because we are not doing the “direct” harm, that this leaves us unaccountable for our actions. Yet our ignorance is ever apparent to everyone else. The mega-corps do our dirty work, but everyone still knows that we, the Americans, are the fuel that feeds the engine. And we are indeed accountable.
In America, it is routinely claimed that over 80% of our population identifies itself as Christian. And with this statistic in hand, the right rises up and shouts its venom like ideology. Wielding its version of the truth in one hand, and its mighty self ordained sword of justice in the other. But I would argue that we should focus not on the minority, but on the majority. And it is easy to see, if you really want to, that 100% of us worship at the alter of consumerism. This ancient religion is nothing new, but is a splendid showcase to our pride and self belief. Yet history teaches and proves that this cannot and will not last.
Now, I rarely comment about church, because a lot of times I hear the same corporate voice at work in its message. But this 4th of July, something different awaited me. And so this is where I edited out a large portion of my post. To include a risk that Ken Wystma took, as he read a beautiful essay written by Micah Bournes. Here it is.
A wise man once said to me “the more I study history the harder it is to be a patriot.” America the beautiful, built on biblical principles and the backs of slaves. Manifesting our destiny from New England to the California coast, desecrating most native civilizations that got in our way. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no afro centric conspiracy theorist with a slavery chip on my back, in fact, I’m proud to be an American, I love running water and Mickey D’s, religious freedom and democracy, but recently I’ve asked myself, what does it mean to be free? As natives of the U.S., liberty is engrained in our constitution and DNA, but if your freedom is married to your American rights, will you still be free when America dies? And America will die. No, I’m no prophet predicting the future, I’m a historian observing the past. From Egypt to Babylon, the Greeks to the Romans, in their moment, they felt invincible, little did they know, their temples would erode, their cities would burn and their coliseums would crumble with a roar as loud as that of the crowds which filled them before they fell to the ground. The globe continued to roll. A new empire rose, then fell, passing the torch to the next generation of fools convinced they would eternally rule. So what makes us think we’re the exception? let me repeat my question. If your freedom is married to your America rights, will you still be free when America dies? What does it mean to be free? Bondage is a spiritual state, not physical chains; realistically most Americans are still enslaved. Mastered by their own desires, aspiring merely to aspire higher, driven by their insatiable appetite for material wealth and physical pleasure, wondering whether their labor will ever end. Slaves in need of liberation. In need of a freedom like Silas and Paul, fastened in stocks to a Roman prison wall, yet feeling so free they sang hymns to their liberator. For our freedom is greater than shackles. If ever America is tackled by a foreign kingdom, and US citizens are enslaved or imprisoned, I will still have freedom. Freedom that is true, having nothing to do with a bill of rights or a politician, The Declaration of 1776 did not ensure my independence, nor did Lincoln’s proclamation bring my people emancipation, true liberation comes only by salvation. Salvation comes only by faith in Christ. Until you believe that the son of God died and resurrected so you could be free from your sin, you will never know liberation. And If you believe that the son of God died and resurrected so you could be free from your sin, no prison cell or ball and chain can ever take your freedom away. For he who is called in the Lord [while] a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. For if the Son makes you free you shall be free indeed. So tonight as we cheer for our moment in time, watching millions of dollars explode in the sky, I pray you consider this question of mine; will you still be free when America Dies?
It gave me hope, that something that I have been pondering and struggling with for twelve months, is also something that others have been wrestling. And this essay now lays the foundation, and points towards action. And so I ask myself
“How can I short circuit the engine that I so despise?”
One last thing that I would beg, is that you please don’t think me unpatriotic. For I do love what the true American Ideology is founded on. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I feel America has the potential to be filled with that again. But currently, with everything I see and feel, with the selfishness and inequity so rampant across our world, and with the part that America and her Christians play in it, I can easily say that I am sad to be an American.