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Friday
December 06th, 2019

earl watt mugL&T Publisher Earl Watt

 

The American Legion were guests at our church Sunday, and they shared how the local chapter as well as the national organization is celebrating 100 years of service.

During their presentation, I realized a very special truth that I think has slipped beyond our nation even though it still exists just out of view, and I believe it might be time we bring it back into focus.

Abraham Lincoln once said when asked if God was on the side of the Union, “It’s not whether God is on our side, it is whether we are on God’s side.”

The question being asked today is whether or not America is a Christian nation.

We have seen action by our government for the past 80 years that we have taken as signs that America is no longer a Christian nation. We have seen the concept of “separation between church and state,” we have seen prayers removed from schools and even legal challenges when the first men to orbit the moon read the Genesis story from the Bible.

It comes as no surprise, then, that we would draw to the conclusion that Christianity is no longer supported the way it once was, and that may be true.

But the presentation of the American Legion reminded me of some very important truths about our nation, our faith, and that quote from Abraham Lincoln kept ringing through my mind.

While the local chapter of the American Legion made their presentation, Bob Keating mentioned an observation he had made about soldiers.

When being bombed by the enemy with soldiers in entrenched, he said, “I never met an atheist in a foxhole.”

He went on to say that men became believers in the military when faced with emergencies on ships or in submarines. When a soldier faced life or death situations or needed a miracle, it was very easy to become a person of faith.

Another exercise the American Legion practiced during their participation in our Sunday service at the South Church of God was to present the colors.

They didn’t need to bring an American flag. We have one in the front of our church along with the Christian flag.

I can’t remember a church I’ve been to that doesn’t have an American flag in it somewhere, and many right in the sanctuary.

They marched the flags to the front and placed them in their stands as we all stood in reverence, and when the service concluded, they retired the flags with the same pomp and circumstance with which they were originally displayed.

While I watched the Stars and Stripes make their way up and down the aisle in our church, I came to a revelation that was as obvious as the wind blowing in Southwest Kansas — we have not taken America out of our churches.

All across the country, Old Glory has found a welcome home among the Christian faithful.

Whether we agree with the policies of our leaders or not, whether the occupant of the White House be a Republican or Democrat, we pray for them, and we pray for God’s hand to be upon them.

The last I saw, we didn’t have government regulators at our door watching to see if we were praying and ready to shut us down for praising the name of the Lord.

Whether or not a judge can display the 10 Commandments in the courtroom or whether or not a team can pray before a game, there is one fundamental freedom our founding fathers provided —  “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

It did not state that Congress would be required to pray, or that children in school would be required to pray.

It did say we have the right to the free exercise of our faith.

Churches dot cities and towns, even the countryside, across this nation, and we have it within our power to be an influence for good and for unity.

Liberal alone has more than 30 churches in a community of 20,000 people.

Why would anyone need to turn for help to the government or anywhere else with 30 churches in this community?

Our freedom didn’t end at the church door. We can exercise our faith wherever we go, which includes the neighborhoods that are struggling, and the family that is in need.

At some point in time, perhaps we slipped on our obligation to represent Christ as we once did, and the government filled the gap with social programs.

So it was with keen interest that I realized that we as Christians have never taken America out of our churches even if Christianity has been limited in the public square.

That brings us back to Lincoln’s quote, and it applies today like this, it’s not whether or not America is on the side of Christians, it matters if Christians are on the side of America.

If we want to be a Christian nation, it doesn’t require a law. It requires us to freely exercise our faith.

We can easily insure that America is a Christian nation by practicing our faith outside the walls of our churches.

We can embrace those in need, and we can share the love of Christ beyond a Sunday service by bringing the faith alive once again in the public square.

It’s not about a nativity placed on the courthouse grounds.

It’s about caroling in the neighborhoods, getting to know those around us and living the way Christ wants us to live.

We have allowed others to define Christianity as  judgmental and negative, and we have probably not done ourselves may favors by taking the bait on issues like the gay lifestyle. No, we don’t support the action, but we love the people in this and every community.

Scripture tells us that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

These are what we are to demonstrate, and when we do, others will see these traits in us.

We can have the single largest impact on this nation if we embrace the values that know no color or race, and be on the side of America.

We can put partisanship aside when it comes to faith and be a unifying voice of support.

What better place to get out of the polarization of politics than to come to the welcoming arms of a nearby congregation.

And if we are on America’s side, then America will be a Christian nation.

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