by G. D. Andreano
The Problem of the Public Square
Protestantism has been at the heart of American politics since the founding. From the “Protestant work ethic” that spawned the industrial revolution to the individualism of democratic pluralism, American politics are inherently Protestant. Perhaps because the Protestant demographic was in the cultural majority for hundreds of years, there seems to be very little experience with how to deal with contrary belief systems. This sense of cultural escapism and political isolationism became the counter-culture movement which simply makes Christian versions of everything. Though there was a long courtship beforehand, it was not until guys like Dr. James Dobson and Jerry Falwell came onto the scene that the Evangelical voting bloc of today officially married the GOP.
This most unhealthy marriage between a distinctly American Christianity and American politics has created some of the biggest problems in the country. Protestants isolated themselves from unbelievers in every way. Even evangelism is isolated from relationship, as many Protestants see evangelism as going around preaching the same memorized paragraph to different people in the hopes that one or two fall to the ground in repentance.
This formulaic approach to relationships with strangers has proven time and time again to be unsuccessful and counterproductive. On top of the awkward robotic conversations with unbelievers, many Protestants also go around trying to convert other Protestants to Christianity. I know of one story where an uninformed Pentecostal who called himself “the preacher man” very aggressively interrogated an Evangelical woman about her salvation. I know another account of a Baptist pastor contentiously questioning the salvation of a Pentecostal man by seeing how much he knew about the Bible, and he called what he was doing “soul winning.”
This behavior would be comical if it were not so ridiculous and sad.
However, having the appearance of clueless sheep must be what happens when every man thinks he is his own shepherd.