If you are a Christian; a true, orthodox-believing, saved by grace Christian, that is your first loyalty. Reading Acts and the Epistles will give you an education about what government can do to believing Christians. Any government. Anywhere. Even here. In the late 1970s, the growing “evangelical movement” chained protestant evangelical Christianity to American patriotism and locked them together with a padlock. I never thought that was a good idea, and I was proved right when “patriotic Americans” started supporting policies that were 180 degrees from anything anyone could find in the Gospels. There are still churches that, if their leadership was honest, should remove pictures of Christ and replace them with photos of Reagan. But that is no longer the major problem Americans face in the church vs. state struggle.
Far more dangerous and insidious is the outlook that our own federal government has taken on actual, practicing Christians. America has had a tradition of secular religion that included most citizens who were not Jewish or Muslim claiming “Christian” identity. One need not know the first fact about Christianity, only that no other religion claimed you. That attitude began to decline in the 1960s. All those young parents who flooded mega-churches in the 1980s are in their fifties now, with empty-nest syndrome and a very tenuous grasp on factual Christianity, having never gotten past the prosperity gospel and feelgood-ism of the mega-churches. They are economic voters now, and probably split between GOP and Democrat. True practicing Christians, those who read Mark 10:21 and understand it, know two things about life in 21st century America: first, that there is little difference between the America of today and the Roman Empire of 30AD; and that whatever protection the First Amendment of the Constitution gave to religious practitioners, at least orthodox Christian believers, have been ruled null and void by the courts, the legislatures, and tiny minorities of supremely evil people who, through guilt and propaganda, have found a way to effectively neuter democracy. Under our current administration, Christianity may be given lip service, but there is no respite for those who actually live and practice the faith. In this way, the United States has become very much like China.
Mainline Protestant churches are fine with the current status. It has been decades, even generations since the hierarchy of any of these churches have actually believed what they preached. As a well-known Episcopal scholar recently said in a television interview: “That’s supposed to be a secret”. The power and wealth of the mainline denominations no longer comes from its rapidly shrinking membership, but from their ability to “distribute” federal aid to the “oppressed” and the “disadvantaged”. In essence, they are now simply social-service arms of the United States government. Christ is no longer a savior, but an entry ticket to free stuff. Meanwhile the Department of Justice combs over the federal law and the US Code looking for the slightest opportunity to crush the true believers. This is being enacted hand-in-hand with their targeting small business, a remarkable percentage of them owned by those same Christian believers.
How long will it be before Christians must register with the government? Sooner than you think. Christians are already called “haters” by those so twisted by hate and evil that they would not recognize themselves in a mirror. As soon as the public is infused with the idea that “Christians” want to take away their “entitlements”, Nero will one again claim his throne.
Rome is coming back, but look at history. Who won?