This I Believe

Stephanie - Bakersfield, California
Entered on February 10, 2007

The term “born-again Christian” evokes apprehension in Americans today. As a self-proclaimed “Christian nation” we have all been bombarded with Christian images and ideals of morality, and society has been indoctrinated with the importance of religion. Born-again Christians have even created their own political party that they use to legislate their way of life. They use any leverage they can to enforce their lifestyle. As a born-again Christian, I believe that it is simply impossible to legislate morality, and I believe that America should exercise its Constitutional right to “freedom from religion”.

Christianity is a very complicated and personal thing. I will admit that it is based on the Old Testament Judaic principles of the knowledge of God. However, it is not based on the Old Testament laws, as reactionary political figures would have us believe. It is based on a personal relationship with Jesus through His Holy Spirit, which lives inside of Christians. Moral laws do not apply in the case of Christians, since Jesus died on the cross for all of our sins (past, present and future) and we no longer need to make atonement for the wrong things we have done, according to what the Holy Spirit tells us is wrong. A sin for me may not be a sin for someone else, since there is no clear-cut right and wrong designated by the Old Testament law; in that sense, some aspects of morality are relative.

The crux of this is that it is difficult to do everything right, since it is by the Holy Spirit that I am even able to attempt success. Sin becomes much more complex than, “Thou shall not be gay; thou shall not have an abortion; thou shall not lie to American citizens.” A U2 song explains the life of a Christian well, “I must be an acrobat/To talk like this and act like that.” It feels like I am walking a tightrope, trying to avoid hypocrisy; I say that I believe it is wrong to lie, but as a Christian I find myself bending the truth. That is the essence of Christianity—trying and failing, and occasionally doing things right.

I feel that when the government tries to legislate moral issues, it oversimplifies the Christian lifestyle and makes it seem too easy. Since there is no law, there should be nothing to legislate. In the New Testament there is only a list of things a Christian can do to make God happy. Furthermore, American law clearly states that religion is a personal thing—both the choice of religion and whether or not to have one. It is important that society work toward dismantling this notion that religion and conformity to socially accepted norms of morality is integral to being a good American; it is important only to be good Christian Americans!