Richard Hughes vs. Newt Gingrich

In a Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed column, Richard Hughes, author of Christian America and the Kingdom of God, takes on Newt Gingrich’s claims that the United States is a Christian nation.

The Christian character of the United States is comparable to the Christian character of the Roman Empire after Constantine or the Holy Roman Empire in the 16th century.

If one compares the Christian dimensions of the Holy Roman Empire with the teachings of Jesus, the differences are stunning.

Jesus counseled peace, but the empire practiced violence.

Jesus counseled humility, but the empire engaged in a ruthless pursuit of power.

Jesus counseled concern for the poor, but the empire practiced exaltation of the rich.

Jesus counseled modesty, but the empire practiced extravagance.

Jesus counseled simple living, but the empire encouraged luxurious living for people of means.

And while Jesus counseled forgiveness and love for one’s enemies, the empire practiced vengeance.

Like that ancient empire, the United States abounds in Christian trappings. Yet it embraces virtually all the values that have been common to empires for centuries.

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