America Isn't the Church and Shouldn't Act Like It

America Isn't the Church and Shouldn't Act Like It
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The Christian religion aims to conform the entire world, in all of its complexity, to the person of Christ. After the resurrection, so the Gospel of Matthew tells us, Jesus commended his apostles to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." Prior to his ascension into heaven, He similarly tells His disciples to "be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth." Inasmuch as Christians obey these directives and remake the world in the image of Christ, they fulfill their God-given mandate. Inasmuch as America attempts to assume the role of the Church and remake the world in her own image, she not only fails to fulfill her original mission, she falters.

Examples of that latter tendency are not hard to find. Our interventionist policies in Afghanistan and Iraq were aimed at making other nations—with far different cultures, histories, and political traditions—into liberal democracies mirroring ours. Before that, in the 1990s, we sought to impose our values upon the Balkans. Or consider the symbolic gesture of flying rainbow LGBTQ pride flags at our embassies, a tradition that became routine in 2011 (until this year), when then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton proclaimed that "gay rights are human rights" and encouraged U.S. diplomats to push countries with different conceptions of sexual ethics to adopt America's own. Moreover, the American government has often partnered with international organizations that seek to radically transform traditional societies in Africa and elsewhere, often for the worse. 

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