12.07.2008

SANITIZING OUR HISTORY FROM RELIGION

Apparently, in addition to glossing over gross injustices and sanding over dubious low points, we as a nation have decided to sanitize religion out of our history. As seen at the Desiring God blog, the new Capitol Visitor Center is deliberate in its omission of the role of religion in the formation of our country and the values of our founding fathers.

As with the blog or with South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint's comments, I'm not hear to claim that we are a Christian nation or even advocate that we become one. In fact, my main sadness is not that in extracting religion from our presentation of the US Capitol, we've left out Biblical Christianity; although, to be sure, some of our founding fathers were devoted believers whose faith steeled them to do great and courageous things for which our nation is forever better.

Rather, my main sadness is that in extracting religion from our history, we miss out on one of the greater aspects of diversity that defines our country. To be sure, we have our religion-based conflicts, discriminations, and insensitivities. But by and large, our actions back up those famous words that we are guaranteed "freedom of religion."

What a loss in describing and experiencing the richness that is America that we have essentially turned that phrase into "freedom from religion." We are richer as people when we embrace our innate religiousness as humans and as Americans, more informed as citizens when we see how religion has woven into the whole of our past and present.

Or, as Senator DeMint puts it: "You cannot accurately tell the history of America or its Capitol by ignoring the religious heritage of our Founders and the generations since who relied on their faith for strength and guidance. The millions of visitors that will visit the CVC each year should get a true portrayal of the motivations and inspirations of those who have served in Congress since its establishment." To which, ecumenically, I say: Amen.
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