02/25/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Behaving Christ-Like

When President Barack Obama said in his inaugural address that "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and non-believers", I could almost hear a collective gasp of disapproval from a number of religious factions followed by murmurings that the new president was indeed an apostate! After all, aren't we a country based on Christian principles and shouldn't the leader of America defend said principles?

Actually, watching Obama during the campaign, one witnessed a man doing unto others as he would do unto himself while consistently turning the other cheek. (Remember his repetitive words of praise during the debates for his opponent and how he was chastised for not going on the attack?) So when President Obama acknowledged in his inaugural address that we are a nation beyond just Christians, he was actually more Christ-like than I've seen from many fundamentalists. The problem is that for many, the word "Christian" is synonymous with "morality." It's as though one must be Christian in order to be moral.

Yet, it's apparent how so many visible and not-so-visible self-described Christians have missed the mark by a long shot. It's also true that countless non-believers are moral without the extra baggage of religion. Without a doubt, not every Christian is a fundamentalist, just as every fundamentalist is not a Christian, but unless one falls into lockstep, fundamentalists are a forbidding society -- one that arrogantly believes should stretch from sea to shining sea.

For the last eight years or so, America was less a democracy and more a theocracy much to the conservative rights' pleasure. So now that the new president is reminding us that we are a collection of people with different viewpoints, they are feeling threatened. Instead of opening doors, not to mention minds, they are revealing a faith based in fear, as though anyone with a contrary thought will somehow challenge and dilute their own conviction. Not everyone believes the Bible's infallibility, but those who do would do well to pay closer attention to how Christ treated his peers. Maybe then they would see the merits in being a nation of diversity where free will must be recognized and valued.