Faithfully Celebrating Independence Day
As we approach Independence Day, we are reminded of the freedoms and ideals upon which our nation was aspirationally built. It is a time for celebration, reflection, and recommitment to the principles that make the United States a beacon of hope and justice. At Riverfront Family Church, we embrace the call to be patriots, not in the narrow sense of nationalism, but as individuals committed to the values of equality, justice, and love for all. In this blog, we will explore how we can celebrate Independence Day while rejecting Christian Nationalism and respond to recent SCOTUS decisions with a prophetic witnessing voice for justice.
Rejecting Christian Nationalism:
Christian Nationalism conflates religious beliefs with the ideals of a specific nation, leading to the belief that one faith or religious tradition should dominate the public sphere. However, as followers of Christ, we are called to a higher standard - one that transcends national boundaries and embraces the diversity of God's creation. In rejecting Christian Nationalism, we acknowledge that our faith should inform our patriotism, but it should never be used to exclude or marginalize others.
The recent decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States have left many feeling frustrated and concerned about the erosion of rights for historically marginalized communities. As people of faith, we are called to stand for justice and advocate for those who are oppressed. Micah 6:8 reminds us, "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." In our pursuit of justice, we are compelled to address the issues that have caused anger and frustration.
The Supreme Court's decisions rolling back Affirmative Action present challenges to achieving equality and addressing systemic inequalities. As followers of Christ, we are called to stand alongside those who have been historically marginalized and to work toward a more just society. Galatians 3:28 reminds us, "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Let us advocate for policies that promote diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunities for all -- including the use of affirmative action to help ameliorate and address generational systemic white supremacy and racism.
The recent SCOTUS decisions impacting LGBTQ protections remind us of the ongoing struggles for equality and acceptance faced by our LGBTQ+ siblings. As Christians, we are called to extend love, compassion, and support to all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We should actively reject discrimination and work towards a society where everyone can live authentically and without fear. Romans 12:10 urges us to "Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves."
The issue of abortion rights continues to be a divisive and sensitive topic. As Christians, we should approach this issue with compassion, recognizing the complexities and emotions involved. As a pastor, I affirm that the decision to have an abortion or carry to term is between a pregant person, their doctors, their involved partner, and, if they are of faith, their God. Neither government nor religious organization can o should dictate medical decisions for individuals or create/advocate for polices that encorach on the inherent right to self-determination. While we may have differing views, we must prioritize the well-being of women and pregnant people, provide support and resources for those facing difficult decisions, and work towards comprehensive solutions that address the root causes of abortion. Proverbs 31:8-9 reminds us, "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves... defend the rights of the poor and needy."
Prophetic Witness for Justice:
As followers of Christ, we are called to be a prophetic voice for justice, echoing God's heart for righteousness and equality. We can engage in constructive dialogue, advocate for just policies, and work towards creating a society that reflects God's love for all people. Let us remember the words of Amos 5:24, "But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!" In our celebrations this Independence Day, let us commit ourselves to being faithful witnesses for justice and agents of positive change.
As we celebrate Independence Day, let us embrace our identity as patriotic Christians who reject Christian Nationalism, champion justice, and stand in solidarity with those who are marginalized. We can be a prophetic witnessing voice for justice by advocating for equality, rejecting discrimination, and working towards a more just and compassionate society. Let us be guided by Scripture, the teachings of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as we seek to honor God in all we do. May God bless you abundantly as you celebrate and strive for justice this Independence Day.