The hyphenated Christian
"There is no room in this country for hyphenated
Americanism. Americanism is a matter of the spirit, and of the soul... The one
absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin would be to permit it to
become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of
German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans... each
preserving its separate nationality..." - Theodore Roosevelt
Between 1892 and 1924, 22 million immigrants poured into
America from the 'old world' through Ellis Island and the Port of New York. Most
quickly adopted the grass roots patriotism of their new country, assimilating
its ways, learning the language, and becoming proudly 'American.' They
sentimentally retained certain cultural icons but even threw them into the 'New
World' mix. But President Roosevelt foresaw a dangerous day ahead when the
'hyphenated American' would move from the context of assimilation to
multiculturalism; where immigrants would be allowed, in the name of 'tolerance,'
to keep their own language and customs, being many separate cultures in one
nation. Somewhere along the way we allowed political correctness to dilute 'One
Nation Under God, ironically making us increasingly more secular and tolerant,
so that now we cannot tolerate any views that challenge our tolerance.
A BIG GRAY MELTING POT
Australia, a land with a different perspective and priority
on patriotism than America, readily adopted multiculturalism many years
ago, but learned the hard way that it cannot necessarily produce a big grey
melting pot of utopian racial harmony. Instead, it has resulted in racial
ghettos with tension between them. In the natural, it will take four or five
generations before there may be any harmony, and even then there are no
guarantees. However, in stark contrast to the natural, our former church in
Sydney was comprised of over 80 nationalities giving testimony that in Christ.
"There [should be] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free,
there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
(Galatians 3:28). Let me suggest that nowhere else on Earth is it possible to
see such unity except in the Body of Christ, once we realize that the culture of
heaven is greater than any earthly culture.
LAND OF PARADOXES!
America is a land of paradoxes! On one hand, its people
ardently seek humanitarian fulfilment as this recent observation from Canadian
television commentator, Gordon Sinclair, declares; "This Canadian thinks it
is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possibly the
least appreciated people on all the earth. Germany, Japan and, to a lesser
extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans
who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. The
Marshall Plan and the Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars into discouraged
countries.." On the other hand, America's dollar driven popular
culture has to take a lot of responsibility for the downward slide of western
morality. Tolerance has made homosexuality acceptable to many by calling it an
'alternative lifestyle' leaving the closet door wide open. When syndicated talk
show host, Daniel Lapin, recently said; "Christians are the only people in
America who haven't come out of the closet." he was being more profound
than he could have imagined!
If Roosevelt had lived closer to our era, perhaps he would
have amended his comments to note an even greater danger to America - the
"Hyphenated Christian"! We have become experts at compartmentalizing
our lives. Our family life is separate from our social life; our personal and
business lives have nothing to do with our spiritual life! Many have become
'Sunday-Christians.' Church is something we do on Sunday, or as Bishop Roderick
Caesar puts it; "Spiritual bulimics, taking in the word on Sunday and then
going home and regurgitating it, not acting on it, and going back next Sunday to
get filled up again".
Religion and morals are not necessarily the same thing. Many
morally upright people have no religious faith whatever, and many religious
people behave badly. Somehow the lines have gotten crossed! A national study by
Barna Research Group found; "We rarely find substantial differences when
comparing the moral behaviour of Christians and non-Christians in 70
The only 'Hyphenated Christians' that are not a danger to
America are "FULL-TIME CHRISTIAN". They are those who put God first
and who understand that He must fill every area of their lives otherwise He just
becomes another option. The greatness of America is not in its fighting forces
or in its economy, but in the goodness of its people. That goodness is anchored
in the Church. America will stay great as long as the Church stays strong.