My Christian faith is very vital to me and important in shaping my world view. I was raised in a family of deep faith and I remember one of my dad’s best friends when I was young was a Chaplain.
For two years when I was 6 to 8 during my dad’s last assignment in the Army, we didn’t have a church to attend in Taiwan as the Chaplain there was someone my parents refused to be involved with. When we came back to the states we visited the closest Presbyterian Church and I simply fell in love with it. My parents had gotten out of the habit of going to church every week, but I wanted to go to Sunday School so much we got back in the habit.
In High School our youth group became part of the Jesus Movement of the early 70s with guitars, long hair, raising hands when we sang, witnessing on the street, and Christian rock. My faith went into over drive. I led a morning singing group that met in High School out of the way of most kids to not bother them where we sang and prayed and shared. I played guitar to lead us. In college I was just as involved, ending up being a youth leader myself. I ended up going to Seminary in Pasadena and becoming a minister. In mid-life I changed careers after my divorce to be a mental health counselor.
I share all this to emphasize I share what I share now from an “in-group” perspective.
===> Taking Jesus of Nazareth as he is presented in the Gospels in the New Testament means taking serious what they record he taught. The main thing he taught is summed up as:
DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU’D HAVE THEM DO UNTIL YOU.
Jesus wasn’t the only religious leader to teach this. Almost all important religious leaders have taught it and several secular thinkers. But Jesus did teach it and anyone who wants to serious own the name of Jesus has got to make this golden rule part of their way of living.
THIS MUST MEAN separation of Church and State. Since I don’t want the state telling me what I ought to believe and how I ought live out that faith I must seek to do that not just for me, but for everyone else, whatever their religious view or lack of religious view.
I want to be able to walk into a bakery and buy a cake for my wedding and not be told I don’t deserve one because discrimination laws don’t apply to the particular religion of the bakers when it comes to their views about me. I don’t want my kids forced to recite a pledge of allegiance that violates our family’s religious beliefs. I don’t want to work to help people who are addicts or homeless or alcoholics and find out that the government is willing to give aid to people doing the same thing as me but with a preferred religious view over mine.
So I don’t want the government doing those things to others. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they believe or don’t believe. I, as a follower of Jesus, seek to have them treated exactly the way I want to be treated. That cannot happen if the state supports one religion over another.
Now, note, I’m not saying only those who follow Jesus can have this mindset I have, that the only foundation for it is following Jesus’ teaching. I’m just saying that those of us who do claim to follow Jesus are not actually following him as he is presented in the Gospels if we don’t seek a society where all people of all faiths or no faith, races, genders, orientations, identities, and ethnicities are treated equally with respect, dignity, and justice.
Therefore I stand against my fellow Christians on this who think the way Sessions does and with all the Atheists, Agnostics, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Pagans, Muslims, and others against any attempt to make our culture and our nation a “Christian Nation.”
Usually I don’t bring my faith into a discussion of what is right or wrong in politics because if you can’t make a convincing case without religious thinking included then you can’t really make a convincing case period. I’m not sharing what I share to convince others to think the way I think. I’m sharing this to make it clear that even within the parameters of a faith in Jesus that there is no convincing case to break down the wall of separation.