If this is what a Christian nation looks like, then I don’t want to be a Christian.

We’re a nation that uses fear as justification for torture.

Despite the fact that, according to scripture, “perfect love casts out fear.”

We’re a nation worried more about whether torture was effective than whether it was moral, as if the objects of torture are somehow less than human.

Despite the fact that all humanity bears the divine imprint. Despite the fact that torturing human flesh is an assault on the image and likeness of God.

We’re a nation that held a mentally impaired man hostage, using him as leverage to extract information from a relative. We’re a nation of secret prisons, in which roughly a quarter of known detainees, perhaps more, were wrongfully held.

Despite the prophets’ condemnation of those who “deny justice to the innocent,” despite their warning that the Lord’s anger would burn hot against such people.

We’re a nation that engaged in simulated hangings, that forced detainees to stand—in their own excrement—for days at a time, and subjected them to a particularly vile technique called “rectal feeding.”

Despite the fact that Paul railed against those who “invent ways of doing evil”—a phrase that comes from a passage we love to quote, confident it was meant for someone else and not us. Which is to miss the whole point of Paul’s rhetoric.

We’re also a nation in which not all the hangings are simulated. We’re a nation that lynched thousands of blacks for “crimes” such as talking to white women. We’re a nation that continues to lynch unarmed black men—only, now we hide it behind a badge instead of a hood. We’re a nation where a black man can have the life choked out of him for allegedly selling cigarettes. We’re a nation where blacks and whites experience two radically different forms of “justice.”

Despite scripture’s declaration that there are no longer any ethnic or social divisions among the faithful—which seems to be more a statement of aspiration than reality.

We’re a nation that threatened to harm the children of detainees, that threatened to rape one detainee’s mother and to slit the throat of another. We’re a nation that told one man he could never be released alive because “we can never let the world know what [we] have done to you.”

Despite Isaiah’s harsh words for those who “go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, ‘Who sees us? Who will know?’ ” Such people, Isaiah says, are far from God.

Yet God help us if someone doesn’t wish us a Merry Christmas this season. Because we’re a Christian nation, after all.

We twitch with manufactured rage if so much as one underpaid Gap clerk greets us with a “happy holidays” (which is to say, happy holy days, but never mind). We call it the “War on Christmas,” and we allow it to distract us from the very real war being waged on our humanity.

We are the persecutors thinking we’re the persecuted.

We may have managed to keep Christ in Christmas, but we have shut him out from everywhere else. We’ve shut him out of our justice system. We’ve shut him out of our secret prisons. We’ve shut him out of the immigration debate.

It’s funny how we insist on being a Christian nation, yet we are so quick to dismiss the teachings of Christ as irrelevant or impractical when it comes to the “war on terror,” the torture debate, or other issues that are fundamental to human dignity. But we will not rest until our annual orgy of consumerism is baptized in religious garb.

If this is what it means to be a Christian nation, then I want no part of it.

21 thoughts on “If this is what a Christian nation looks like, then I don’t want to be a Christian.

  1. I guess that means we weren’t a “Christian nation” when we slaughtered Native Americans, subjected the Black population to slavery and Jim Crow laws, developed the eugenics movement that the Nazis praised us for and eventually borrowed…I’m still searching the Bible for Christ’s command to “found a Christian nation” in the first place. I guess it’s OK to call yourself a “Christian nation” as long as you forsake the one whose name you bear. God bless America (anyway)…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. And unfortunately it extends to the local church and evangelicalism. Say you’re a musician who doesn’t believe the Exodus story happened exactly as the Bible claims…well, your CDs are gone from Christian bookstores. Say you’re a pastor and fall into sin….well, your books are removed from all Christian stores and churches. In my case, say you question the accepted eschatological view of your church? Removed from membership and serving in any church-related ministries without due process.

    Like it or not, Christianity (the local church and evangelicalism nationally) exhibits torture and abuse as well. And it’s the reason I no longer label myself as a “believer” or “evangelical” or the like (although I still believe Jesus is the son of God who died for us). So I completely get why atheists/agnostics look at Christians and laugh when Christians try to evangelize to them. Why would they enter into a prison cell voluntarily? The church is supposed to be the most free place on earth, where no masks have to be worn, but it’s the exact opposite, unfortunately.


    1. (Though to be fair, Brian notes in the post you shared that he’s stopped self-identifying as an evangelical, precisely because of widespread evangelical support for torture…)


  3. Somewhere in the United States national psyche brought this to the forefront of our conscious to be examined at this time when we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. How many will stuff it way back under their Christmas trees among the packages of empty materialism trying to fill the void? Can we instead come together as a nation, and bring out into the light of the Christ child and ask for forgiveness and make reparation? My heart is full of sadness and conflict, how can I celebrate the birth of Christ without acknowledgement of how wrong our nation fell. It is truly a time to bow our heads and pray, Lord forgive us. We must, I believe, as a nation so we can move on, learn, and grow. If not we might as well die to our once most honorable ideas as a Nation, and become soulless unfeeling devils that will surely be our doom.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on 8thDay4Life and commented:
    It’s is becoming so much harder for me to identify as “Christian” while at the same time being a U.S. citizen. I know the difference, but it seems to have been a bad blend of religion and statism since the beginning. Not mentioned here, the history and current plight of First Nations under colonial invasion and occupation. See also Brian Zhand’s excellent post about being a follower of Jesus and supporting human torture. http://brianzahnd.com/2014/12/christian-support-torture/

    I share this out of a very deep grief that has been growing over the last couple of years. At times, I have been angry. But that anger was rooted in tears.


  5. Ever notice that liberals only talk about America being a “Christian nation” when they want to slam it? If America was a “Christian nation” when it was torturing terrorists, wasn’t it also a “Christian nation” when it was giving billions of dollars an untold hours of help to Haiti?

    No blog posts about how proud you are of all the good America does as a “Christian nation?” Don’t want any part of that either?

    I think what you’re looking for is a “perfect nation.” Those don’t exist.


    1. David, I’m afraid you’ve missed the point entirely. I don’t think we should consider America a Christian nation either way.

      And if you want to talk about aid given to Haiti, let’s also be prepared to talk about America’s negative interventions which have contributed to the difficult situation there.


      1. Indeed, Ben. There’s no such thing as a “Christian nation,” which is why it always confuses me when I see liberals using the term.


      2. I think most liberals would agree there is no such thing as a Christian nation. That, however, does not mean that nations should not strive to do good (i.e. responding to humanitarian crises, not torturing people, etc), or that Christian citizens of those nations shouldn’t encourage them to do what is right.


      3. Yes, Ben, the United States has in the past interfered in Haiti in a negative way…question: when will Haitians assume moral responsibility for their own fate?


  6. I found this post very randomly on Facebook and you make some fantastic points. It is hard to feel that we (the “radicals”) are following Jesus’ words, yet the Church itself can be so hard and judgmental against us. I choose to believe that Jesus really meant what He said. These words were in my devotion this morning: (Beth Moore’s Whispers of Hope)

    (In regards to Luke 6:35) …we demonstrate our kinship to our Father, the Most High God because He is “kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” We are never more like Christ than when we are willing to stretch beyond our natural likes and dislikes to extend good, love, and mercy to those who DESPISE us. (emphasis mine)

    Liked by 1 person

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