The Rainbow that Is America

This was our view last night -- only from the other side.

I’m in Washington, D.C., with the family for a week of vacation (and some work) (and a great big and ravenous dog is watching our house!). Last night, after hours a Smithsonian museums, we sat with tens of thousands of Americans and watched Tom Bergeron host “A Capitol Fourth,” culminating with an amazing fireworks show over the Washington Monument.

Here’s what both Courtney and I remarked on during the show: The large number of immigrant families around us on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol, dancing and singing and waving American flags.

With all of the (largely white) Tea Party fervor in recent years about getting back to the “real America” and the “true America,” it was refreshing to see that some of the most passionate Americans on Capitol steps have different skin color than I, and speak English with a thick accent.

Many of us post-evangelicals have an ambivalent feeling about our country — coming from the history of genocide of Native peoples to the current drone strikes that hit innocent civilians — yet seeing a recent immigrant dance with his three-year-old daughter last night, both of them waving flags and singing the National Anthem, was enough to renew my faith in America.

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  • I speak and write with a little accent. I came here in the US as a missionary from the Philippines working with urban youth in Los Angeles over 2 decades ago and became a US citizen 5 years ago. My mission agency community here in the US is white, evangelical, conservative Tea Party leaning. My mission community faces a critical decision in order to survive, die or thrive. One of the issues is how to engage and welcome “immigrant missionary” reciprocating America- in blessing the immigrant’s country with Christianity. I find myself silently alienating my mission community peers because- my post-evangelical leanings and a lack of meaningful conversation about it. I wonder how many and how long American mission agency can survive -no matter how big their ship is- in the emerging “real America” and if they can continue to “be a blessing to the nations of the earth.”, or who would continue to engage in “frontier mission”- another conversation in itself. Thanks Tony

  • Curtis

    If you want to predict the future of any church in the United States, answer the question: “What is its strategy to thrive in a pluralistic society?”. Many immigrants to the U.S. are Roman Catholic, but often ambivalent about how to live out their faith tradition in the U.S. Even more recent immigrants come from non-Christian religious traditions. Almost all immigrants today are looking for a faith community vastly and culturally different than the European roots of U.S. churches.

    Any faith community that is not actively working to welcome, change with, and work along side the future residents of the United States will not survive once their current congregation of gray-haired adherents moves on to a better place.

  • ben w.

    I’ve been around the National Mall for a couple July 4ths and they do put on a great show. Even if some cities can make a bigger spectacle of lights, I can’t imagine a more impressive display than watching the celebration amidst the Capitol, the Washington Monument and the rest of the Mall.

    While their may be a higher proportion of “ambivilent” post-evanglicals, there are plenty of jaded and ambivilent evangelicals too – especially the younger generation. I don’t know Micah Bournes (clearly sounds theological evangelical), but I love his poem “When America Dies” that considers the question, “Will you still be free when America dies?”:

  • CM

    The Tea Party is wrongly accused of having racial undertones to its message. While the Tea Party may have individuals who are a part of the movement who DO have racial motives, the whole movement does not care about skin color or anything like that.

    What the Tea Party does want is smaller government (i.e. a return to our roots). The Tea Party believes that a bloated government creates more problems than it solves and restricts liberty rather than expands it.

    In terms of immigration…the Tea Party is all for LEGAL immigration. What’s wrong with wanting to know who is coming into our country? What’s wrong with wanting to ensure that people who are coming into this country aren’t members of violent gangs like MS-13, or members of terrorist groups (AQ or not), or aren’t carrying highly infectious diseases that have been absent in our country for decades? We all have locks on our doors and windows for a reason. All the Tea Party is asking is that we have some control over our own borders. A nation without a border cannot declare itself sovereign.

  • Debbi

    Thank goodness Jesus loved people with diseases. Do Tea Party members believe in Jesus?