I am convinced no nation in history has been simultaneously more to investigate religion wholeheartedly and more reluctant to do so seriously than the modern U.S.
Our national aggregate religious IQ seems to peak at either end of an inverted faith bell curve, with a vapid, enormous, sagging, religiously-passive middle that entertains the notion of God on the one hand but pursues inviolable, unholy “whatever works for you” morality on the other. America is succeeding at religious freedom but failing utterly at religious understanding.
Our constitutionally guaranteed “Freedom of Religion” has been ill-advisedly reinterpreted as “Freedom from Religion.” America’s resulting culture-wide ignorance of sectarian specifics prevents her as a political nation from accurately comprehending – or of appropriately, proportionately and morally acting in – world events.
Hence, I feel we are blowing a big chance to provide leadership on this planet that more than ever could benefit from the moral authority of a military and economic superpower that truly has its cultural heart in a spiritually truthful – i.e. Godly – place.
Religious freedom in America has never been greater. The proof? Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Mormons, Unitarians, Jehovah’s Witnesses and many others operate openly and freely in a nation that will not tolerate the interruption of any adherents’ private practice of their faith.
That high level of religious freedom is unprecedented, even in this country. We may think “my faith” is being discriminated against, but consider the virulent, codified, civil discrimination against, for example, Catholics and Mormons a century ago.
Ironically, and sadly, we also are a nation that now excludes God from the realm of civic wisdom and no longer tolerates the public witness of faith. No single book is as important to understanding Western culture as is the Bible, yet where is that book in our broader culture today? It is hidden from public view; an unwanted guide. We have imposed an academic injunction against actually saying, authoritatively and out loud, what America has known from its very beginning: that the truth of Jesus Christ is the capital-T Truth that all humanity seeks.
“Don’t judge” (translation: “don’t think”) is the horrible response of populist elites manning the pervasive palisades of America’s contemporary religious ignorance.
America is flummoxed by the modern Middle East because, as a nation, we refuse to take any religion seriously and are therefore intellectually ill-equipped to understand or respond when other nations do. We cannot publicly fashion, or even fathom, a moral response to an international crisis. We have no battle flag to plant.
Religious freedom is indeed precious, but God’s truth – when Christ is allowed in the conversation – is what leads a moral nation.