1. What was your initial response to the email? Why do you think you responded that way? Have you heard similar ideas expressed elsewhere? Why might this message be attractive to someone? To a Christian?
2. How would you define the “tone” of the email? Is it an appropriate tone for a Christian to adopt in the public square? In an email to friends (what appears to be their entire email address list)? Why or why not?
3. The email raises several issues that could legitimately be discussed by citizens in the public square. What are those issues? What position(s) might Christians take on these issues? To what extent might we need to give one another freedom to disagree on these issues? Can these topics be discussed without the uncharitable tone expressed in this email?
4. How should the Christian community respond to immigrants? To immigrants who do not want to be assimilated into mainstream American culture? To what extent can our outreach to them with the gospel be mixed with out concerns as citizens?
5. “‘In God We Trust’ is our national motto,” the email reads. “This is not some Christian, right wing, political slogan. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented.” When was this slogan actually adopted? Under what circumstances? Since many believers are convinced America is becoming increasingly post-Christian, and since religious pluralism is clearly on the rise, how appropriate is this slogan? If you consider it appropriate now, under what cultural conditions might you think it inappropriate? How “clearly documented” is the assertion made in this email?
6. Can a Christian ever take the position that some immigrants need to be encouraged to leave? If yes, under what circumstances? What form should such encouragement take? If no, why not? If as Christians we are critical of American culture (as secular, or post-Christian, or decadent, or whatever) yet tell immigrants who do not wish to be assimilated into this culture to leave, can we expect them to be open to the gospel we desire to tell them? If people desiring to live in America are forced either by government action or societal pressure to leave, what sort of ministry(s) might the church be wise to offer to them?
7. To what extent can Christians claim that America (or any other modern nation-state) is “OUR COUNTRY?” In this regard, how would you define a proper patriotism for the believer, balancing our responsibility as a citizen and our citizenship in the kingdom of God?
8. How can we develop accountability before God so that our political convictions are molded by and carefully examined in the light of the truth of the gospel?
9. If you received this email from a person in church leadership (say, an elder or pastor), how should you respond—what biblical responsibility do you have? And if you know the believer who sent this to you happens to be extremely critical of American culture—believing it to be so decadent and un-Christian that he encourages believers to withdraw from it—does the content of this message raise any questions you might wish to ask him?