I’m not big fan of Christianity, or any other religion in general, but I have always had this innate respect for the morality, philosophy, and the spirituality it brings along on its bandwagon. Let’s ignore all the holy wars, persecutions, ritual sacrifices, honor rape, etc. and just consider the spiritual part of the religion.
We all know that America claims to be a Christian country that officially adopted "In God we trust" as its motto in 1956. During this point in time, America officially stated claim to be a country that would adopt Christian values and principles to cater to a majority Christian population. Back then, people thought that adding a few teaspoons of Christianity into this melting pot might actually provide the flavor of morality and hope the country badly needed during the time of war and depression. America is now one of the few countries where 1 in 4 people believe that the coming of Jesus will happen in their lifetime. You’ve got to love the "go big or go home" attitude.
This Christmas, as a non-Christian and a newly inducted American citizen, I had a lot of catching up to do to discover what it meant to be American. If America is a Christian nation, I figured the best place to start would be to read some of the teachings of Jesus Christ. I opened the Bible to Matthew 5 and these are some of the verses I read:
- Mathew 5:3: "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
- Mathew 5:5: "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."
- Mathew 5:7: "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy."
- Mathew 5:9: "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
Why aren’t any of these philosophies reflected in the American consciousness? When people think of modern-day America, being merciful peacemakers and compassionate towards the poor aren’t exactly the first things that pop into someone’s head. Modern-day America is a capitalistic, gun-friendly country fighting two wars, and currently embroiled in a recession caused due to simple greed (not to mention other problems like racism, school shootings, to name just a few.)
If the response of common citizens after recent disasters like Newtown and Hurricane Sandy taught us anything, it is that Americans can pull together like no other and rebuild themselves and their communities regardless of which hue they are painted on the American mosaic. Santa, all I ask for this Christmas is that as a Christian nation, we adhere to the Christ-like values of being compassionate towards the poor, being merciful to wrong-doers, and reflect peace-making in our domestic and foreign policies.
Otherwise what is the point of the motto, “In God we trust”?