Monday, March 9, 2009

Putting the Church Back in the State

McLean Bible Church’s mission is simple, yet ambitious- “to make an impact on secular Washington with the message of Jesus Christ.” Indeed, in the middle of all the pantsuits and the dry political speech, there seems to be little room for religion. Oh yeah, and that little thing called the separation of church and state. Why is the MBC so bent on infiltrating this city on a hill whose whole message is built on secularism? Who are they to preach the word of God, and start a change?

Even after a morning spent at this church, and a nine hour drive to mull everything over, I still cannot completely figure it out. When Hannah and I met with Dana, the New Members Coordinator, she made sure to stress the vision of her church. Make a change in Washington, because a change there can change the rest of the world. Dana went on to say that Lon Solomon, the senior pastor, did not preach political opinions, nor did he tell his followers who to vote for. Instead, MBC focuses on spreading the word of God, including some choice passages on homosexuality and abortion, because those are in the Bible. Dana was enthusiastic as she talked about her church’s unique position in Washington. The 10,000 followers that gather each Sunday are sure to include some politicians and other important D.C. figures, she added.

For a liberal Yankee so far removed from these megachurches, this vision, from a distance, seems absolutely absurd. Of course a church could never have an impact on our nation’s politics by simply being a stone’s throw away from the White House! Just because abortion is shunned in the Bible does not mean that they will overturn Roe v. Wade! Fifty U.S. politicians who happen to come to the same church every Sunday does not mean that they will bring their religious views to work on Monday! However, attending mass and meeting with Dana made the MBC vision scarily tangible. She spoke in such reassured tones, and seemed convinced that MBC had the power and the resources to make an impact on D.C. MBC does technically have the money and manpower to make some sort of an impact on Washington. However, religious groups in the past have tried to make their voices heard in D.C., to bring about a more conservative shift to politics. With the Republican party ousted, and a liberal Democrat in power, MBC probably won’t have much of a chance in eradicating abortion and homosexuality. However, after witnessing the enthusiasm of these church-goers, and the resources they have, I began to worry a little bit. But I guess I just have to keep faith in the Democrats.

1 comment:

  1. Even liberals are churchgoers. The current President is there on Sundays and he self-identifies as a Christian. Also, don’t forget that the church has a 2,000-year history of intertwined religion and politics. Listening to some political discourse, often you wonder when the secular is separate from the religious! Here I’m left with the question: When does a myth becomes a reality and when does reality becomes a myth? This raises a further question. Is the Christian myth a story told and held by some, or is it a common belief, held at different degrees of conviction?