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Let not your glory be your shame:

The man history calls the great defender of the Constitution, Daniel Webster, proudly stated, "I was born an American, I have lived as an American, and I will die an American". An astute observer might have noticed that no hyphen was used to describe American. Today’s youth might find this odd indeed. Men were in those days, judged by their abilities, principles and behavior. The term American was all that was needed to define us. Today that is no longer true. We must (to be politically correct) identify ourselves racially as hyphenated Americans: i.e. African-American, Mexican-American, etc. It shouldn’t matter where I came from; it should matter that I’m proud to be an American.

Next we should expect to see second tier hyphenated words being used, like lesbian-American or transgendered-American to denote sexual preference, followed by the possible addition of political designations, such as liberal or conservative. We may, soon, end up using descriptive hyphenated phrases such as liberal-homosexual-Italian-American. Society seemingly cries out for us to be easily identifiable and labeled, which might have something to do with compartmentalization, ideology, or laziness. The real question and danger lies here: is this the beginning of the destruction of American commonality? Those cultural differences we have can enrich us and add flavor and color to our lives; but those ideals, principles and values we truly share as Americans make up our commonality and strengthen us, both as a people and as a nation.

Although this destruction via hyphenation of our common identity and bond is harmful, it is far less dangerous than the invisible hyphenation threatening our American culture. The invisible hyphenation is revealed in the word Christian-humanist, [A case could also be made here for Jewish-humanist, Muslim-humanist etc.] It has been reported many times that about 86% of Americans call themselves Christian. By that measure a very large proportion of Christians must also be humanists, because we are today known as a secular-humanist society.

Quietly over time, some Christians have managed to blend the world’s humanist philosophy with their religion and daily lives. We may even devoutly attend our church on Sunday but easily listen to foul rap music, watch ultra sexy videos on MTV, participate in a little gambling, abort an unwanted child, play around with someone else’s spouse at work, and last, but not least, daily want to partake of our favorite Hollywood entertainment [filled with sex, violence and dysfunctional, immoral characters]. Think I am too harsh? Take a peek at some of your favorite T.V. shows; take a good look. The Apostle Paul, in Philippians, warns us about those "whose God is their belly (unbridled lust), and whose glory is in their shame". Just who are your children’s role models and whom are they emulating and in some cases nearly worshiping?

To expand on this line of thinking, let us look at our former president, William Jefferson Clinton; who, if nothing else, can serve as a bad example to the rest of us. Clinton, a Baptist himself, chose to condemn the entire Baptist Convention that was taking place in late 1999. Joe Lockhart (his former White House Press Secretary) expressed Clinton’s position and view of Christianity [when he condemned the Southern Baptist’s plan to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world’s Muslims and Hindus] by placing the Baptists in a category of groups that "perpetuate ancient religious hatred". President Clinton viewed the greatest challenge of the twenty-first century as stamping out intolerance and religious hatred. What unmitigated gall calling the ‘Great Commission" religious hatred!

The ‘Great Commission’ that Jesus called us to is found in Matthew 28:18-20; "Go therefore and teach all nations". It was the same Jesus who had just said that, "all power is given unto me in Heaven and on earth". The words "except for Muslims and Hindus" are not to be found in any Bible translation of the for-mentioned quote. Christ told us to hate the sin and love the sinner. He commanded us to love our enemies, showing our love to them by bringing His message to all people – even to the farthest corners of the world.

The words Christian and Humanist are diametrically opposed. A Christian- Humanist becomes a cruel oxymoron. In the words of Daniel Webster, "If God and His Word are not known and received; the Devil and his works will gain the ascendancy." Benjamin Franklin had these words of wisdom, "Man will ultimately be governed by God or by tyrants." Perhaps instead of listening to so much Hollywood entertainment, we might be better off reading the world’s best selling book: The Holy Bible, of which there are more copies in print than all other western classics combined. God himself says there will be a test.

History tells a story about Alexander the Great who was disciplining a young soldier for showing cowardice in the face of battle. The youth was lucky; he had not been summarily executed, and would have a chance to plead his case. When Alexander learned that the young man’s name was also Alexander, he grew livid with rage. He seized the young man and hurled him across his courtroom shouting, "Soldier change your ways or change your name." Some Christians in America today might face that same choice: change your ways or change your name. You can’t have it both ways: let us not have our glory be our shame.

 

Pastor Joseph R. Larson,

 

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