John Steward of Jesus
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Can good Muslims be good Americans?

Below is a letter to the editor published December 1, 2010 in the Western Front of the local Hutchinson News, captioned "A Matter of Allegiance".

Your Nov. 14 editorial considers the question, "Can Muslims be good Americans and still be good Muslims?"

You point out that the question could as well be asked regarding good subjects of any religion, and the answer would be "no" because "the subject's first allegiance must always be to that religion's God."

Your analysis is helpful, and your conclusion correct.

The ultimate religious or political question is one and the same - who is my head ruler? Who has final authority as my lawgiver, judge and king? Who will protect and provide for me?

Living with dual allegiance brings conflict. We can't serve two masters.

The United States Oath of Allegiance requires prospective citizens to absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty of whom or which they have been subjects or citizens.

Christians who consider themselves to be subjects of the Lord Jesus or citizens in the kingdom of God might have difficulty renouncing and abjuring all such allegiance and fidelity.

Presumably, religious people who want to be good Americans handle the conflict by assuming that "freedom of religion" has to do with prayer, meditation, assent to doctrine, hope for the afterlife, and other mental activities but does not apply to practical activities in the real world. Where there seems to be a conflict, the authority of the secular government prevails because people must "render to Caesar" and "be subject to the higher powers."

Consider several examples.

Many couples who have been married by Christian ministers under state law know that the teachings of Jesus do not permit "no fault" divorces for miscellaneous reasons. Yet they have asked for and recognized such divorces from state authorities.

Jesus says to simply let your "Yes" be "Yes" and your "No," "No"; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. Yet Christians are willing to go "beyond this" when political authorities so request.

Christian Americans will, when so ordered by the American government, kill their Christian brothers and sisters in neighboring American states, Germany and Iraq.

Jesus did not express judgment when relating to those who had given allegiance to Rome. I do not wish to judge my Christian brothers and sisters who have given allegiance to governments of this world. I simply invite them to consider whether there is a better alternative.

I have chosen to live in God's kingdom and to give my exclusive allegiance to his elected king, Jesus of Nazareth. I choose not to give allegiance to any other government.

May our common creator and his Prince of Peace enable all of us to live in peace.

John Steward-of-Jesus
in the Kingdom of God