Posted by: rusch | June 6, 2007

Thoughts on American Gospel

At dinner, I finished Jon Meacham’s American Gospel. It is one of those books that if you read carefully, could change what you believed prior to reading it. This book has changed my thoughts about religion in the public square, the faith of the founding fathers, and what is necessary for Americans to face the challenges of today. I can’t say enough as to why everyone should give this book a thoughtful read.

Among other things, this book has made me think about why the Church is not successful in places like Europe, especially Greece, where it is not expanding, but dissolving and combining branches because there are barely enough members to keep things going. I contrasted this with what I experienced on my mission in California and what other friends of mine experienced on their missions to Latin countries, and other places around the world where missionary work is more fruitful.

I have concluded that some cultures have aspects of their culture that are incompatible with the Gospel. I think that this is true with Greece after having spent some time here.

I am a multiculturist to he point that I am accepting of aspects of cultures that promote the human rights declared inalienable in the bill of rights, and that promote decency and morality within those bounds. While imperfect, I think that America has been able reach a balance when it comes to these sorts of things.

Another thing that this book has made me rethink are my libertarian leanings. It is false to think that simply legalizing something that is difficult for law enforcement to fight is the answer to the problem. For example some Libertarians will argue that legalizing prostitution would be the answer to the current problems that law enforcement agencies face in trying to fight this ill. Here are some problems that I see. First, what would be the age when one could legally enter the sex trade? How would you ensure that call girls are not spreading or contracting sexually transmitted diseases? Also thinking that legalization would rid the obvious abuses that currently exist in the sex trade is wishful, and that is being very generous.

Well, I have gone on and really should be packing as I am flying out of Athens Greece early tomorrow morning. I must admit that these past couple of weeks in Europe have been great, but it will be nice to return to place where most people share some very common values with me, both in and out of the Church.


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