Limping around more awkward than a toddler with disproportionate legs is the post-Reformation, American church living under its self-inflicted delusion of democracy. When Rome was in charge, times were simpler, at least regarding the state, the church, the law, and morality, because the church was the state, and morality (at least that which was said to be moral) was the law. Yet even now, though for centuries all of these things have been separated in America, the church still has no clue on how to address them. Some try to do it with signs, others with bumper stickers, some at the polls, and others, like Tim Keller, just say that everyone else is doing it wrong and then suffer amnesia.
From all the confusion, there is a total absence of consensus on how to deal with homosexual marriage, abortion, etc., spanning from the liberal “churches” and their “come as you are and stay that way forever” message to the super-political, super-conservative, Rush Limbaugh-listening churches who cry themselves to sleep over prayer being taken out of public schools and the thought of a Pledge without “under God” scribbled in for added religiosity. And then there’s everyone else.
The problem that faces all of these groups, whether they’re actually the church or not, is that they all are, unbeknownst to them, suffering from a severe identity crisis. They’re trying to be at least two people at once, and they can’t help but want to be. The liberals want to be socially tolerant Americans and wear the mask of religion, and the conservatives want to be full-blooded A-mur-icans and line up with Jesus. The problem (and maybe the source of the confusion) is that none of these groups realize that the government and the church are two separate and irreconcilable entities. When it comes to conservatism, being a good Christian is being a good American, and vice versa. And no one has the heart to tell the confused masses that Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.”
The solution to the confusion (methinks) is to choose sides: either be a patriot or be in Christ—one must be the chief and overbearing identity. Someone once said that a servant cannot serve two masters, and that’s true in all spheres, not just in God and money. If you choose America, go ahead with anti-gay marriage campaigns and the like, just don’t speak the name of Jesus. If you choose Christ, concentrate on making his church holy, not America. Begin with yourself and make yourself holy. Then move onto your local church and make her holy. Then focus on the church in geographic regions and then the church in America. Once the church in America is holy, then perhaps we might consider polishing the turd that is the American government.