Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Christian America and the Kingdom of God

It's not often that we get authors visiting at Mont Alto. Yesterday I attended the presentation of Richard T. Hughes, the author of Christian America and the Kingdom of God and a large number of other books on religious topics. Hughes is a professor at Messiah College.

The subject of the talk was how the religious right has misrepresented the true meaning of the Gospel in their effort to make the USA turn back to God and proclaim itself a Christian nation. Hughes showed that although the nation was founded with a strong Judeo-Christian influence, the founding fathers never intended to establish a state religion. They knew too well the problems that had caused in Europe. Instead, they wanted a secular society where all religions would be respected.

Hughes touched on periods where fundamentalist leaders had tried to convince the country to accept their point of view. In the second Great Awakening in the first part of the nineteenth century their message included the plea for social justice that brought about many social reforms and led to the emancipation movement. In the fundamentalist movement in the early twentieth century they ignored social justice entirely. And in the fundamentalist movement that began after the 1960's they reject all claims of social justice that are found in the Bible.

According to Hughes, these lies are causing great harm to our country and leading to the political polarization that we have today. I thought his argument made a lot of sense. The fact that he is a strong Christian himself makes his argument even stronger. He is fighting from within, so to speak. I am eager to read the whole book. I was glad to get an autographed copy.