A nation of Christians is not necessarily a Christian nation

Here’s a challenging reality: America has become more just—and thus closer to the ideals one would expect of a Christian nation—as white Protestant power has waned. The United States of 2022 is far more just than it was in 1822 or 1922 or 1952 or even 1982. And while white Protestants have undeniably been part of that story—they were indispensable to the abolitionist movement, for example—the elevation of other voices has made a tremendous difference.

In the civil rights movement, the sad reality is that all too often the person wielding the fire hose and the person facing the spray both proclaimed faith in Jesus and both went to church, but only one of them was acting justly. And any account of American civil rights has to include the vital contribution of the American Jewish community…

There is a misplaced emotional urgency in parts of the church today. There’s a longing for a past we shouldn’t seek to recover, panic over a present that is still laden with privilege, and fear of a future that is in the hands of a sovereign God. We saw that all on January 6. We see it still in rhetoric that blankets our Christian political discourse.

Yet if our history teaches us anything, it is that we cannot equate Christian power with Christian justice, and while we’ve always been a nation of Christians, we have not always borne Christian fruit.