Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Christian Coalition of America

the group i have chosen is the Christian Coalition of America. Their website is a Christian based news/politics website with information regarding their own agenda for the year in politics, how you as a good Christian can have an impact on the government and general news about what is going on in the world of politics.

the group was founded in 1989 and is largely a grass roots movement from the political right. The group is concerned with being overtly pro family and protecting the family from the government. the site also boasts the the sheer size of the Christian Coalition of America has achieved in the last decade, pointing out how they are active in every state in the USA and pledge millions into education every year. The group stresses the importance of christians voting in elections to ensure the righteous and good decisions get made.

In terms of identity it is apparent from this site that an American Christian identity is one that strongly revolves around politics and government, with the site even saying "Today, Christians need to play an active role in government again like never before." so it is clear from this that politics is something that is extremely important in the contemporary Christian identity in american, the need for Christianity to have a large impact on how things run in the USA is great. Religion is something these people believe their nation was founded upon and is something they are keen to ensure remains prominent in how things are run. It is perhaps because of this that it is so important for candidates to be particularly religious because if they are not they could lose the backing of a huge portion of the country and the Christian Coalition of America is well aware of this. They use the knowledge that the Christian community has great power in politics to ensure the best decisions are made and the right Christian candidates get into office.

Despite the organisations name the Christian element within the organisation, for better or worse, doesn't seem to be to apparent or exploited on the website. In fact excluding the name and the one reference to Christians already mentioned there is virtually no religious paraphernalia on the site, there are no crucifixes or pictures of Jesus etc. littering the site. The main agenda of the site would seem to be getting the vote of the person visiting and the religious element of the site is just used to attract the audience it requires and get donations to its causes.

National Baptist convension

The group I have chosen is the National Baptist Convention. One of the largest groups of its type in the United States of America. They are a devout Christian group.

It's mission is to "fulfil the great commission of Jesus Christ and though teaching, preaching and healing". It aims to untie baptist churches, home and foreign mission efforts, to encourage and support Christian education, to publish and distribute Sunday school and other Christian literature and advance the cause of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

There is a focus on community and goodwill. Something that is very important to American Identity. There is also a focus on a sense of belonging. Faith is very important to many Americans and this website seeks to spread that message.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Southern Baptist Convention

I have chosen to look at the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) which is a Christian denomination, was Organized in 1845 in Georgia and currently has over 16 million members and 42,000 churches in the United States. On the website of the SBC they state that they “share a common bond of basic Biblical beliefs and a commitment to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the entire world.”

The Southern Baptist Convention base its beliefs on biblical interpretation they believe, that the Bible is “God's revelation of himself to man […] therefore all scripture is totally true and trustworthy.” They believe in heaven and hell, they oppose homosexuality and abortion and feel all beings should be born and die in a natural way as God intends.

The Southern Baptist Convention believe that the family is the foundational institution of human society, composed of people related by marriage, blood and adoption. They also believe that “marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman and that the husband and wife are of equal worth before God.” Also they believe that the husband has “the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family” and the “wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband […] She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.”

These beliefs that the SBC have create an identity for its followers to express their faith and love for God throughout their day-to-day lives and by teaching their children about faith and Christian ideals creates an identity for its followers. The SBC believes that “a free church in a free state is a Christian ideal” which is also an American ideal, that church and state are separate.

Mormons and American identity

The religious group i have chosen is that of the Mormons. From their website it is clear that for these people, religion gives them their identity on earth. For the Mormons, their American identity is based on nothing but religion, because it is the most important thing in their lives. The Mormon religion is a denomination of Christianity. Mormons still do believe in Jesus Christ, and god but they have their own 'Mormon Book' by which they must abide by.

First and foremost, religion gives these Mormons an identity and place within America. Like Latino's find their identity among other Latino's in America, the Mormons appear to find and express their identities within a community setting. The front page of the website allows you to search for other Mormons, suggesting this is the part of the American identity that is most important. Mormons feel the need to find other Mormons. They dont feel the need to search for immigrants, wealthy, or other Christian people, it is Mormons- making religion central to the identity. The American identity is based on faith for the Mormons, and the use their faith to control every aspect of their daily life.

Family is key to the Mormons, as you must protect and teach your children the correct way of living. Therefore the values they teach their children will be those of the Mormon faith. For me, this shows that faith is the most important identity for the Mormons, because it takes away freedom of choice for their children, which is supposedly an American value. But American values mean nothing compared to their religion, and therefore forcing the Mormon way of life upon your children implies faith defines the American identity. The website has examples of what families do, and the children are subject to evenings of prayer and Mormon games and activities to teach the correct way of living. This website strongly suggests that faith defines your identity first and foremost, telling you how to live, what to do to get into heaven, and giving you reason to be a good citizen.