American Christians share their society with mostly other American Christians.
This has lead to the incestuous thinking that belief is only a matter of getting the proper explanation, the correct version of Christian thinking.
For the most part, Americans are Christians fighting with other Christians.
They do not experience or encounter non-Christians as part of their daily life or considerations.
They live in an entirely Christian mindframe, rarely being questioned or challenged or having to accommodate other people’s beliefs and customs.
This is why they cannot handled when athiests and others disagree, and why they react with hellfire and damnation – they are so used to these tactics being effective that they have not developed anything more sophisticated or nuanced in response.
Collectively as a group, Focus on the Family has rallied the anti-gays, Discovery Institute has rallied all the anti-education, and the abortion movement covers the anti-sex, anti-women, ant-whites being out bred by non-whites, a longer way to say, racists.
But as a Canadian, growing up in a nation where religion was a personal and private matter rather than a public platform and public showing, wearing your religion on your sleeve as if to say, this is how the world should be – when the religion is not engaging people in playful, curious or compassionate ways.
I think most believers are kind and loving, but the language and forums to express their faith and their relationships within an without – to show what it really means to be a beleiver – has been lost in the the public battle to shoehorn very narrow religious ideas into legislation or public policy.
If you consider that any nation stands on the history of the lands it occupies, and every civilizations goes through common growth and change periods – how we handle the internal conflict and the external relationships, speaks directly to the character of our nations.
Canada, America and Australia/New Zealand are the child nations of the United Kingdom – we have had separate histories of internal conflict with aboriginals, the balancing of immigration waves and our relationship with our motherland.
America separated early through revolution, and has been an independent and isolationist, a moody teenager with a nuclear arsenal and a twitchy trigger finger.
Canada never fully separated, never resolved the English/French divide, and took the peacekeeper’s path, always punching above our weightclass and never expecting recognition. Never getting it as a consequence, either.
Australia and New Zealand, the dumping ground for the UK’s Most Unwanted, fatalistic and enduring, independence with a large dash of enjoying life to the fullest.
Each nation taking a different path from similar starting points, to become nations of their own.
This severing of identity, then leaves each of us to be nations with a sensibility born of what we have internally experienced.
All three nations have run roughshod over aboriginal populations who had been technologically stone age, but were time tested ancient civilizations that were not able to withstand the immigration of cultures and peoples who would be the equivalent of having space ships dropping off refugees with amazing technology and complex civilization customs and understanding.
All three nations have had differing immigration waves that have impacted the national character and we have similar, but different forms of government and much overlap in what we say are inalienable rights, but who’s broad application has been implemented haphazardly as each minority group has stepped up and demanded the fulfillment of the promise made: come to our lands of equality, non-discrimiation and economic opportunities.
The only way the promise works is if we play well and work well together – that the things that divide us are just surface, natural diversity and variation – and nothing upon which to base making moral judgement or equality distinctions over.
There’s room at the table for everyone, if we share better and squeeze together closer.
We need to remember that only by being level headed, dealing with the facts on the ground, by ensuring that everyone has some, even if no one is full – to take what Japan demonstrated in the face of the nuclear meltdown and tsunami disaster combination – and be graceful and dignified in the face of extremity.