Mike Pence and the Error of the "Christian Nation" Narrative

Friday, August 28, 2020 Bryan Hudson 1 Comments

Andrew Harnik  |  Credit: AP

 Andrew Harnik  |  Credit: AP

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You have often heard that the United States is a “Christian Nation.” Certainly, we are a nation in which the majority of citizens say they are Christians. Whether or not persons actually have a relationship with Jesus Christ is another question. Others go much further to assert that the United States was founded on the Bible as a Christian nation––something that cannot be shown within the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. Furthermore any notion that America was founded as a “Christian” nation was nullified by the institution of slavery––unless one is a Christian who believes that enslaving Africans was biblical (something which many Christians believed).

On August 26, 2020, during the Republican National Convention, Vice President Mike Pence made this comment near the conclusion of his speech,

“So let’s run the race marked out for us. Let’s fix our eyes on Old Glory and all she represents. Let’s fix our eyes on this land of heroes and let their courage inspire. And let’s fix our eyes on the author and perfecter of our faith and our freedom. And never forget that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. That means freedom always wins.” 

This was an example of twisting Holy Scripture (2 Peter 3:14-18) and conflating America, our flag, his political party, and this president with the Kingdom of God. It fits within the narrative that America is a “Christian nation,” not merely a nation comprised mostly of people who say they are Christians. Sadly, people in our nation have a long history of using the Bible to justify unbiblical purposes and ungodly beliefs.

Pence told people to “fix their eyes” on the flag (“Old Glory”). The Bible says to fix our eyes solely on Jesus. What Mike Pence supported, whether or not he was aware, is an old spirit of error called “Dominionism” and “Manifest Destiny.” (You can research those terms). There are people who believe Christians should run government and be in charge of every institution. This is part of the so-called "Seven Mountains" philosophy, in which Christians seek to control the domains of Education, Religion, Family, Business, Government/Military, Arts/Entertainment, and Media. (https://www.gotquestions.org/seven-mountain-mandate.html)

One of the massive problems with this flawed concept is that it relies on “Christians.” Not every person who identifies as a Christian is a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not every person who identifies as a Christian knows what the Bible teaches. Not every person who identifies as a Christian is well educated and professionally competent. Not every person who identifies as a Christian actually practices the faith. There are a great many versions of religious Christianity. Which one is the one?

We must remember that “Christians” gave us President Donald Trump. 81% of evangelical Christians voted for him. “Christians” promulgated slavery and white supremacy in the 19th and 20th centuries.

To be sure, “Christ Followers” (a term I use to identify Christians who are faithful to Christ in word, deed, and doctrine) are indeed the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.” Christ Followers offer Jesus Christ, hope, truth, help, and promote justice for all. Our influence in this sinful world is most impactful when we maintain our spiritual integrity, our independent prophetic voice, and hold political leaders as well as civil servants (such as police officers) accountable to our state and federal constitutions/laws. One of the finest civil servants I know is my U.S. Representative Andre Carson, (D. Ind.) who is a Muslim.

The Framers of the Constitution, some of whom were slave owners and not Christ followers, had the wisdom to draft the nation’s founding document to intentionally avoid making our government subject to the church or to Christians in particular. They understood the importance of recognizing God as Creator, but they did not include references to Jesus or Scripture in the Constitution. Their experience with King George III of England and its state/church form of government motivated them against allowing the same for what would become the United States.

Mike Pence misused Hebrews 12:1-3 which reads “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

He also misused 2 Corinthians 3:16-18, “Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Regarding heresy in the last days (which is part of our time) the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 4:1, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.” Dominionism, Manifest Destiny and the Seven Mountains are all examples of doctrines born of fleshly and demonic influence (including those coming from “Christians”).

Vice President Mike Pence crossed a bright biblical line in comparing devotion to our flag (“Old Glory”) with our Lord and Savior. For many Christians this has become an all too common error. It highlights a problem as old as our nation, regarding America as the Kingdom of God to a greater or lesser extent. Patriotism has its place, but it should never be confused with devotion to God. We embrace the Pledge of Allegiance, but a Scripture infused veneration of anything or anyone other than the living God is idolatry.

1 comment :

  1. Great article. Straight to the point. This article compels deep soul searching.