It is fact of history that regardless of misinterpretations of the Bible — moral legality of slavery being the most famous misinterpretation — American civilization is built on Christian foundations, on the Bible, has revolved around Church congregations. Back in the days of the Cowboys, even if the Sheriff was corrupt, and the largest landowner a Shylock, typically both still showed up in Church. Church was the fulcrum around which revolved all of American society.
As the years have gone by and America has welcomed migrants from all walks of life, there has been a move towards liberalization of American society for welcoming of people with different backgrounds and religions. In addition to liberalization introduced for welcoming of immigrants, Americans whose lifestyles run contrary to what they characterize to be conservative Christian theology have sought acceptance for their lifestyles; have sought validation within context of Church doctrines and practices. One of the fall outs of the push for liberalization has been a losing of the place of the Church as fulcrum around which revolves all of American civil society and relations.
It is important, however, to distinguish between liberalization required for secularization of relations within society, and liberalization of a society’s core beliefs.
A society can be secular yet not abandon its core foundational beliefs. Secularism that is not accompanied by liberalization of core beliefs means everyone is judged by moral standards embodied in civil law only, not by their beliefs. In the United States of America, liberalization has been pursued not only for arrival at secularization, but in context of a diluting of core beliefs for accommodating of all contrary opinions, all contrary beliefs, all contrary lifestyles.
Core beliefs that accommodate every other possible belief do not have any power whatsoever, lack credibility.
Take for example the demand for recognition of homosexual and lesbian relations as marriage. In the push for LGBT behaviors to be recognized as marriage, the Church in America has been split, resulting in liberalization of beliefs, and weakening of ‘moral authority’ of the Church. By moral authority, I do not refer to moral authority for defining of behavior outside of civil law. Rather, I refer to moral authority in context of the Church being seen to have a non-compromisible identity — that the Church is perceived as knowing what she is, what she stands for, what she is doing. When some parts of the American Church validates, while others repudiate LGBT behavior, does it not appear as if Christian philosophy lacks identity?
Suppose LGBTs had pushed for secularism, leaving the Christian Church out of the debate, out of the push for rights, rights which by definition are non-spiritual in nature, rights mostly economic and emotional in essence. Secularism of rights implies LGBT behavior is not criminalized. Secularism further ensures LGBTs have access to all of the economic (taxation) and emotional (hospital visitation) rights available to heterosexual couples. In the constraining of the discussion of economic and emotional rights of LGBTs to be within the secular sphere, the Christian Church in America is not split, the moral authority of the Church is not weakened, America’s foundation as a civilization built on Christian philosophy is not chipped at, remains intact.
The problem with the push for liberalization, as opposed to push for secularism is that liberalization obliterates, weakens, obviates, and dissolves existing foundations. In America, liberalization has been driven mostly by push for acceptance of behaviors previously considered deviant by the Church. This push for liberalization weakened the Christian Church in America so much, it became apparent America’s soul was up for brags. Enter then the Muslims with September 11, 2001; Arabs and Chinese with slushes of money for investment in the American economy; Africans with their juju and Sango beliefs, and ‘non-morality bounded capitalist philosophies’ evident in debacles such as Enron, MCI etc.
Consider, however, that none of the philosophies competing for the soul of America ever have produced a civilization as great as American civilization. The Chinese, who perhaps are closest to America in terms of civilization have had to adopt Capitalism — albeit a Communism mediated form of American Capitalism — for enabling of development of their country. Africa is mired in growth that with few if any exceptions never induces any meaningful economic development. The Arab world is in a mess. Non-morality bounded capitalist philosophies — the sort of which we have witnessed since about 2003 — create wild booms and busts, never can be foundation of thriving stable civilizations.
The point is, based on the historical and current evidence none of the philosophies currently competing for the soul of America have outperformed within their own domains — China, Africa, Arab World etc. — the civilization made possible in America by Christian philosophy. If Americans care about evidence, they will not abandon what has worked best, Christian philosophy for what has not worked quite as well — Juju, Communism, non-morality bounded capitalism, or religion driven governance.
To those who might question in their minds, I ask to which parts of the world do people who are from poor countries, people who are broken and in need of political asylum most seek to emigrate — America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, China, Arab Countries, or pun intended, Africa? The answer of course is clear, obvious — America and Western Europe. Again, as already elucidated, each of American or Western European civilization — the only surviving secular civilizations — are built squarely on applications of Christian philosophy.
Americans will be wise to begin to focus on maintenance and improvement of secularism of interactions within society, as opposed to liberalization of the beliefs of the Christian Church. Liberalization means the American Church can pass for a place that is comfortable for the Buddhist, Hindi, Muslim, Juju worshiper, Communist, and non-Christian philosophy bounded Capitalist.
It does not matter how inclusive American society becomes, the Christian Church is not supposed to be a place within which Christians claim their beliefs are no different from those of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Juju worshipers, Communists, and non-Christian philosophy bounded capitalists.
Weakening of foundations of the American Church, such that the Church loses its uniqueness or distinctiveness within American society chips at the foundation of American civilization, cannot augur well for maintenance or improvement of American civilization.
If America is to remain great, the objective never will be helped via diminishing of uniqueness or distinctiveness of the Christian Church in America.