Poe

Poe

Friday, September 20, 2013

God Bless America

The news is full of people speaking of how their Christian faith shapes their commitment to family and how it shapes their choices for legislation.  “God Bless America” is placed like a stamp of approval on each political agenda.

So who is America?
That strapping healthy guy doing manual labor and driving a big truck is the poster image “American”.  What about the poster boy’s older gay brother?  Is he part of America?  Certainly our returning veterans represent America.  What about the low paid aides taking care of our vets?  These people are working hard to keep clothed and fed on their income, not much room for investing.  They will need the Social Security that they are paying into.  Are they part of America?  What about your neighbor, still unemployed after 6 months.  Is he part of America?  What of the woman with only part time work, living in poverty, who finds herself pregnant, the one many would like to deny access to both birth control and the resources to care for a child?  Is she part of America?  The banker is living the American dream.  What about the family that had their home foreclosed?  They should have known they could not support that mortgage, but then shouldn’t the banker have also known?  Is the defaulting family part of America too?  What about the kid still living at home, unable to find a job that can enable him to support himself fully, and unable to afford health insurance?  Is he an American?  Are the Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, and Atheist people in this country part of America?  What of the hungry child born into poverty?  Is she American? 
Is America everyone?  Or just the people who are like us, people who don’t make us uncomfortable?  Does America only include people whose lives reinforce our way of seeing the world?
The conservative Christian platform of today is based on values different from those I was brought up with.  I grew up in the Christian church, regularly attending a Presbyterian church in Langhorne, PA.  I went to Sunday school, joined in the youth group, sang in the choir, and attended the classes that led to my confirmation.  I was impressed by the example of Jesus and saw the worth of the Golden Rule.  What I learned in that church was tolerance, respect, making the time to help and care for other people.  I did not learn that gays are evil.  I was taught not to judge.  I did not learn that poor people are indolent.  I was taught to help them.  I did not learn that women are to follow men and bear and care for children.  I was taught to think for myself, to listen to my own conscience.  I did not learn that going to church made me righteous.  I was taught to live by the Golden Rule.  I thank Reverend Crawford for these lessons.  Were it not for this education in the kindness of Christianity I would be left judging the Christian faith by the intolerance, contempt, misogyny, and greed that I see perpetrated and justified by today’s conservative Christians.