There was once a time in my life when I kind of wanted to be a pastor. I wanted to speak to a church about the importance of kindness to all God's children, to not lose sight of the teachings of love among all the legalistic hemming and hawing. Here's my chance! My sermon is to the Christian community in response to this video.
While the founders of America were Christians, they purposely did not establish a national religion so no one was persecuted for their beliefs, as they had been. As a nation, “we” don’t worship ANY god. You are free to worship (or not) whatever god you so choose. All faiths are welcome in America. All enjoy equal rights under the Constitution. That's the beauty of freedom of religion that led to the foundation of our nation!
Freedom of speech means anyone can say stupid things if they want (a la the pastor in this video). It doesn't mean you can expect to have everyone pat you on the back and say good job, all people have the right to say what they want as long as it does not incite violence. And so we're clear: being disagreed with is not persecution.
The faith of Christianity is a personal faith. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and sup with him and he with me." Revelation 3:20. Christ has called his followers to love their neighbors at themselves. He told his disciples to spread the good news of the forgiveness of sins, of God's love for mankind. He told them to love their neighbors as God loves them. He told them to give to the poor.
He rejected the political power and might offered to him by Satan and expected of him by many Jews. Instead he chose to take up the cross and die for your sins. His public speeches, like the Sermon on Mount were full of admonishments to love God and man, to seek the kingdom of God.
Did Jesus tell the blind man he deserved to be blind because he sinned? No, he healed the blind man. Did he tell the leppar his leprosy was the result of his sexual sins? No, he healed him.
Never did Jesus teach that nations who refuse to keep his commandments will be destroyed. He said individuals who rejected his teachings and sinned would go to hell. He did not say his Father would bring down a holy wrath upon the nation. This sort of fear mongering, hate speech and blaming the victims have no place among those who are true followers of Christ.
Christians open your eyes! Among the faithful you have wide divisions in belief. Was Jesus crucified on a cross or a tree? Do we have to baptize our children as infants or should baptism occur in adulthood? Is divorce allowed for reasons other than adultery or not? Is the communion wafer actually the body of Christ? Does Christ require us to speak in tongues to be saved? Should we reject the world or embrace the world God so loved?
Because we live in a nation of religious freedom, you are free to disagree about each of these issues and practice your version of Christianity as your heart tells you. That freedom applies equally to non-believers and believers of other faiths as well.
Jews and Christians both lived among people of other faiths. Jesus instructed his followers "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and give to God what is God's." If Jesus had intended his followers to militantly push their faith on a nation (as the pastor in the video suggests Christians must do) his answer would have been more like "Tear down all of Caesar's idols, remove him from his post and find amongst yourself a leader to replace him, for my Father in heaven will surely strike down all who do not follow me." That was NOT the message Christ taught at all.
Look at it this way -- if a person commits no sin his entire life because he was locked in a cell his entire life, does that make him holy or handicapped? When he appears at the pearly gates would he hear those so longed for words: "well done, good and faithful servant" or would God say "Away from me, I never knew thee." You can't force a nation to love God with all their heart, all their soul and all their mind. That is what Jesus wants, not forced obedience to a list of rules.
Christ called his followers to choose him, to follow his example out of love. He did not suggest taking up arms against your neighbors and forcing them to say the Lord's Prayer. Simply forcing people to conform to a life you think God expects will not forgo his wrath, for it is the hearts of men that God judges, not their actions.
Remember, "For by Grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourself. It is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8) After God made a new covenant with the world through the crucifixion of his son, he had no reason to destroy nations for their willful disobedience. The price for all of our sins has already been paid.
The next time you think God should be put in control of the nation, ask yourself first if he is in control of your life. Even with the in-dwelling of the holy spirit, we all sin and "fall short of the glory of God." Live your life the way you feel God is calling you to, and let others do the same. Even if that God is Allah or Krishna or the great spirit. God will judge them at the end, not you.
So in conclusion, if your faith or your heart tells you that homosexuality is a sin, don't engage in homosexual acts. If your faith tells you that working on the Sabbath day is a sin, don't work on the Sabbath day. You have tremendous freedom here in America to make those choices! Let us thank God that the founders of our country never established a national religion. We can all study and practice our faith however we feel called.