As we prepare to celebrate July 4, studies show that the wealthier a country is, the less important religion is to that country. The ONE EXCEPTION is the United States of America.
Our question to you this week:
Drawing on your life, your work and your time here in Memphis, how do you explain America the Religious?
I will comment for some of the members of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Yes! The members of the Greek Orthodox Faith in America are more religious, involved and committed to their Faith in the USA than in most places of their origin.
(On the occasion of the Fourth, I will be preaching this coming Sunday on “My Two Loves – my Country and my Church.” I find so many similarities in them. • I am “filling-in” until we get a full time pastor….hopefully, soon!)
Going back to one reason why our faithful are more active in the US, is perhaps because they don’t take the freedom to exercise their Faith for granted. What I am saying does not imply that the faithful in American are better people but it does show that they are greater participants in their Faith than in the countries they migrated from.
For instance, people who visit here from abroad might say, “But the churches in Greece are full!” However, the percentage of faithful worshipping or involved in the Church is FAR LESS than those in the US. I believe its not just taking the freedom to worship for granted, but also not taking their Faith itself for granted.
We are a land of immigrants and those who came to this blessed land, whether it be a long time ago or those who are but recent arrivals, look upon their places of worship – churches, synagogues, temples – their Faith, that is – as one of the most precious things in their lives. That and family values are important to them. And they try to implement those teachings / values to the world.
I recall my 1965 visit to Istanbul (Constantinople) when the late Ecumenical Patriarch, His Holiness Athenagoras, who had served in the US as our Archbishop, referred to America as “The Hope of the World.”
Thus, on this Fourth of July and always let us all invoke, “God Bless America!”