John Cole, Scranton Times-Tribune

Century Marks

American paradox: “America is simultaneously the most professedly Christian of the developed nations and the least Christian in its behavior,” argues Bill McKibben (Harper’s Magazine, August). As a share of its GDP, the United States is second to last among developed countries in foreign aid; almost 18 percent of American children live in poverty, compared to 8 percent in Sweden; the U.S. murder rate is four to five times that of European countries. We have higher rates of divorce and teenage pregnancy too. Americans have hijacked the teachings of Jesus that “call for nothing less than a radical, voluntary, and effective reordering of power relationships, based on the principle of love,” says McKibben. The dominant American theologies of end-times obsession and consumer-oriented religiosity “undercut Jesus, muffle his words, deaden his call, and in the end silence him.”

 

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