North Texas Daily

Universalism of Christianity and its impact on the US

Universalism of Christianity and its impact on the US

Universalism of Christianity and its impact on the US
June 03
12:00 2021

Pledging to one nation under God, invisible, with liberty and justice for all. Solemnly swearing to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, with one’s hand place on top of a court bible. Singing the words to “God Bless America” at every Independence Day event, with dazzling fireworks shooting across the night sky.

As much as the United States has changed since the days of the puritans, our evangelical roots still run deep as a national symbol on which the 13 colonies were founded.

Due to the rapidly increasing civic division among the country, Christianity has been used to justify intense political beliefs for the nation as a whole — despite the expansion of multicultural religions and belief systems. Some 70 percent of Americans identify under the Christian umbrella, according to Pew Research Center.

Another six percent identify with a non-Christian faith, such as Judaism or Islam. What is surprising to the sometimes called “Christian Nation” is that 23 percent of Americans do not identify with any religion at all. Despite this proven and rapidly growing statistic, many of the policies instituted in today’s society still conform to the religious evangelical ideology of politicians.

Christians are well represented in the United States, with almost all politicians in office identifying as such. Six out of the nine Supreme Court justices identify as Catholic, according to data from Central Ideas in American government. None are non-religious, even though “unaffiliated” represents a large portion of the American population. This probes thoughts of how evangelically saturated laws in place are if nearly all the people governing them are influenced by their personal faith.

For instance, former President George W. Bush, whose episcopalian faith ran “low key but deep,” urged Congress to pass a constitutional amendment in 2004 banning gay marriage “defining and protecting marriage as a union of a man and a woman as husband and wife,” as stated in an article from the Baltimore Sun.

A recent law passed from the Texas House seeks to require the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner for every professional sports team that signs a contract with the state government, or their funding will be cut.

Another controversial Texas law bans places of worship from shutting its doors during a national disaster- even during a pandemic. In-person church services were a COVID-19 hotspot before vaccinations increased.

These laws as well as other conservative Christian policies passed in current times reflect a fearful religious community. Many of these lawmakers yearn to preserve the unrealistic fantasy of “how America used to be” — a nation stamped by cookie-cutter evangelism.

However, the dream of a purely harmonious and homogenous nation has never been or ever will be a reality. The heinous institutions of slavery, racism, white supremacy and imperialism have been justified by Christianity for centuries, and still persist today.

On one hand, policies constitute a universal assumption that everyone would benefit from Christian policies. This could have worked 50 or 100 years ago, but America is no longer the same country that thrives on inherently biblical policies. We are too ethnically diverse, too multi-religious, too non-affiliated to reign under such drastic policies.

As much as some evangelicals think that we are unified as one nation under God, we are too much of a melting pot to coexist under a national religion.

Americans United, an organization dedicated to the separation of church and state, argues that discriminatory measures against minority citizens have been justified under religion for far too long.

The continued separation of church and state is the only way to ensure freedom of religion — to believe or not to believe — at all.

On the other hand, this is not to say Christianity as a whole dictates the entirety of American policies. In fact, the United States has sustained policies of religious freedom since the signing of the Bill of Rights in 1791. Evangelism has served as a foundation, a place of community, a beacon of hope for minorities and struggling populations and ordinary folks looking for a safe space.

The only way to truly guarantee religious freedom is to harness all affiliations under one roof and to cease implementing universal Christian policies that only benefit those affiliated with the church.

One nation under love, one nation under acceptance, and one nation under freedom, for liberty and justice for all.

Featured Illustration by J. Robynn Aviles

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McKensi Bryce

McKensi Bryce

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