This question seems to flare up a lot lately especially with the views of many over whether President Obama is a closet Muslim and whether Mitt Romney being Mormon makes him a member of a cult. Religion has been a contentious issue globally and has created millions of martyrs. The irony is that at their core most religions are very similar.
Christians will say – YES!
Seculars will say – NO!
Both are wrong..
When considering this topic one must first ask themselves the following questions:
- What was the “nation” intended to be?
- Was a state church desired?
- What is a Christian nation?
Well, I am going to give you my answers for all of these. These are my opinions but, I base them on known facts and common sense. You can agree or disagree. Comments are always welcome.
What was the nation intended to be?
When one researches the colonial and revolutionary era they will find that the desire of the colonies was really simple and less grandiose then we all like to make it out to be. They just wanted to be left alone. They wanted to be free to live their lives in peace without King George oppressing them through his appointed governors. They didn’t want to be taxed without having services or representation and they did not want a big brother style government controlling their every move. At best, they wanted a loose association of states, or a Commonwealth, that mutually respected the sovereign rights of each state with an overarching government that protected the states, regulated trade between them, and champion the individual liberties that were bestowed its citizens by the Creator. The majority of these people were Christians – that cannot be disputed – and they governed their lives by what the “good book” told them and while some folks owned Bibles, many didn’t and they relied on their local preacher to be their mentors. They wanted local control and smaller government, not the big federal powerhouse we have now with so much power and corruption. They knew that with power came corruption – they lived it. So here we are as a nation, not learning from the mistakes of the past and therefore beginning to repeat them.
Was a state church desired?
The colonial era was a time when the Church of England was the only choice someone had for religion. The fact that they did not want a state controlling their church or their beliefs is what brought people here to begin with. So, the last thing they wanted was another overbearing government with a state-run church. This was clearly stated in the First Amendment to the Constitution in that their would be no laws establishing a religion. Did it mean they wanted God out of their lives? NO. Did it mean that their faith didn’t influence their decision-making or even their thoughts of how governance should be framed? NO. They just didn’t feel it was the government’s place to tell them how to believe and how to worship.
What is a Christian nation?
Here is the real crux of the issue. What exactly is a Christian nation anyway?
Is it a nation where the majority of people are Christian? If that is the case then we are.
Is it a nation where the only religion allowed is Christianity and that we are governed by its doctrines? If that is the case then we would be a theocracy not a democratic republic.
Is it a nation where other religions are allowed but, the only one that is considered right is Christianity? If that is the case it makes us religiously intolerant and not a nation of liberty.
Is it a nation that allows everyone to be free to believe how they want but, govern themselves according to the tenets and beliefs of Christianity? If that were the case then it would be no different then a theocracy.
We may be a nation where the majority of the population are Christians but, we are not a Christian nation. What we are is a nation that was founded on ending the divine right of kings and empowering everyone with individual liberties. One of those liberties was the freedom to choose your religion and that it was private matter between you and your god. Something that the government could not impose on you. This is not a Christian principle because Christians are under the obligation to make disciples of all nations. This was a principle of enlightenment and the rise of personal liberty.
So be a tolerant person towards others and accept that we can be different but, still be one people.. Say “Happy Holidays” instead of making claims that the phrase is secular or politically correct. Learn about other religions by reading their various religious text before you assume you understand them. It is ignorant to say that just because someone can pull nasty quotes from a book that an entire religion is based on evil beliefs. If that were the case then the Bible itself would make the tenets of Christianity questionable.
PS – Anyone who has read the Bible – and I mean from cover to cover and not the incoherence of a passage here an a passage there – knows Christian values are borrowed from the Jewish ethics of the Torah and Prophets. The differentiator is the concept that faith is more important than actions and the messianic beliefs of Jesus.
Another PS – May the blessings of the Divine Patriarch and Creator of all things bless you and your families this holiday season.
© Nelson Rose, The Quest for Light