Faith cannot be separated from community life in America. It is intermingled with the affairs of daily life because the people around us carry that faith. A bugler plays “Amazing Grace” at a community memorial service, and an athlete publicly thanks God for their victory and strength. The victim in a high-profile case broadcasts, “With the guidance of God, I will prevail and help others who have suffered…” A health facility posts a plaque that states, “Grounded by our faith in God, this facility seeks to provide…” A plea for prayers is heard during a national tragedy, and an acknowledgment of God’s divine intervention is overheard from the next booth in a restaurant. A chaplain offers an invocation at a public meeting thanking God for His blessing and guidance, and a funeral card memorializes the deceased with an inscription of the 23rd Psalm. Who can snuff out the magnitude of faith expressions that existence in our world?
Particularly amusing this week has been the man who filed a motion against the county for installing our country’s motto over the courthouse doors, stating he believes in the Red Road religion and not in God. This man is quoted as saying that the signs remind him every time he passes that “Christians” think he is going to hell. The country’s motto, however, does not say, “In Christ We Trust.” (Oh, how I wish it did.) It simply says, “In God We Trust.” The use of the word God is very generic in this context.
The man’s claims to the Red Road belief seem to carry little importance to him. The Red Road belief has a similar philosophy of eternal life as the Christian’s belief does. The Red Road religion proposes that each person begins life before conception. As they live out their life, they may choose the Red Road by living a life of enlightenment and strength, staying clean of all greed and negativity. In contrast, the person who chooses greed or negativity or other such dark lifestyles is choosing the Black Road. The Black Road will burden the person with a load of misery accumulated during the lifetime which is carried on when one passes. (See www.nativetimes.com)
This man who filed the motion is currently jailed for attempted murder of his wife. Does the Red Road religion condone behavior that attracts charges for attempting to murder someone? Wouldn’t his actions be considered those of someone living their life on the BLACK ROAD, and not the Red Road? Would it be fair to conclude that the man’s own belief system is condemning him rather than that of the Christian’s belief? He is obviously not living by the very religion he says he believes, and maybe believers of the Red Road would want to remind him in their own words that he is walking down the miserable existence they describe as the Black Road.
Please don’t underestimate the power of expressing your faith to others. Join the chorus of voices described in the first paragraph with your own public expressions of thanksgiving, testimonies, and moments of prayer.
Myra Mansfield is a law enforcement chaplain with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department and serves as a volunteer for several community organizations.