On Tuesday I wrote about hyphenation and how Theodore Roosevelt said that it would destroy America. You can read the article HERE. Anyway,I thought the warning about hyphenation in America was a very good one and one that should definitely be applied to Christians.
In our day and age, there are many, many denominations. We have Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc. We hyphenate Christians when we shouldn’t. But, to make it worse, we go right around and don’t hyphenate those whom we should. Remember, Roosevelt said that certain people, who call themselves Americans but are not, should be hyphenated. The same thing goes for Christians.
In this world, we call a lot of people Christians and a lot of people call themselves Christians. It is sort of a flimsy title given to anyone who claims it. I have had many people tell me they are Christians and yet you cannot tell it a bit by talking to them or hearing their interests.
These types of Christians are the types that are supposed to be hyphenated. Why? Because they are only pretend Christians. They claim the name of Christ, but they don’t forsake the old ways and become like Him. Just like the hyphenated Americans.
If a immigrant comes to America and does not forsake the old ways of his culture and become like Americans, then Roosevelt said he should not be called an American and should be hyphenated so we know. This is incredibly important for Christians to understand.
So, what are hyphenated Christians called? Well, Cultural-Christians. Instead of forsaking the worldly (or cultural) “old man”, they hang onto it and claim they are Christians. This creates a contradiction in them, in the unsaved’s view of Christ, and in the saved’s view of his fellow Christian. Do not let yourself be a hyphenated Christian!
Read Roosevelt’s speech again and see the importance of hyphenation!
There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all.
This is just as true of the man who puts “native” before the hyphen as of the man who puts German or Irish or English or French before the hyphen. Americanism is a matter of the spirit and of the soul. Our allegiance must be purely to the United States. We must unsparingly condemn any man who holds any other allegiance.
But if he is heartily and singly loyal to this Republic, then no matter where he was born, he is just as good an American as any one else.
The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English- Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian- Americans, or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality than with the other citizens of the American Republic.
The men who do not become Americans and nothing else are hyphenated Americans; and there ought to be no room for them in this country. The man who calls himself an American citizen and who yet shows by his actions that he is primarily the citizen of a foreign land, plays a thoroughly mischievous part in the life of our body politic. He has no place here; and the sooner he returns to the land to which he feels his real heart-allegiance, the better it will be for every good American.
Address to the Knights of Columbus
New York City – October 12th, 1915