*Religion has always played a pivotal role in America. School children each year are told how the Pilgrims came to North America because they were being persecuted for their religious beliefs.
Pilgrims left Europe because they believed they were practicing the true form of Christianity. Over time various denominations from several countries, believing the same thing, followed in the footsteps of the Pilgrims and established communities in the new land. And in almost every instance they failed to display Christian behavior.
Christianity is a faith based in giving. Jesus, the example of how one ought to live, gave of himself tirelessly even unto his death. Contrarily most of the initial Christians in America took. Christianity is a faith not based on earthly treasures; in fact followers of Christ are supposed to shun accumulating wealth on earth in favor of heavenly riches. But the Europeans that colonized the Americas did so primarily because of the profit motive. In short while Americans are fond of touting the Christian origins of the country, the reality was that early American settlers were the greediest, most adventurous, most ambitious, and most unlawful group that could have been amassed. Christianity was the nice veneer that masked the true nature of these people.
Unsurprisingly the nature of the majority of people in the United States has not changed over the 400 years since Christians arrived. What has changed is the ability of the people being exploited to respond.
In today’s society, politicians frequently say that terrorist attack the United States because they adhere to radical Islam and hate freedom. But such an explanation as to why the United States is a target is illogical and incomplete. Illogical because no nation in the world sanctions slavery so essentially every country supports an individual’s freedom. This explanation is incomplete because the religious aspect of the situation does not end with specific interpretations of the Qur’an. The missing piece of the puzzle is America’s façade of Christianity. Muslims understand when Christianity is being perverted and doing so had not and will not endear us to Middle Eastern countries.
This is not blaming the victim. The United States is not a man whose nice house is burglarized. The United States is a man who furnishes his nice house by borrowing from his neighbors without the intention of giving back; lying to his neighbors; extracting promises from his neighbors under pressure; and outright stealing from his neighbors. This does not mean that the United States deserves to be attacked. But it does mean that this country, that claims to be a Christian nation, needs to examine itself and ask what would Jesus do and figure out how to begin giving rather than taking.
Trevor Brookins is a free lance writer in Rockland County, New York. He is currently working on a book about American culture during the Cold War. You can reach him at [email protected].