The Myth of United States as a Christian Nation


Many proclaim that the foundation of the Country of the United States of America is Christianity and it was foded based on Christian principles.  However, if you examine history you will find this to be an unfounded statement.  Granted, the United States of America had many Christian influences, but the foundation of the country was based on people of varying beliefs coming together and compromising toward a set of laws that form the Constitution of the United States of America. 

     There are some people within the Church in the United States who view the country as the Christian equivalent of the nation of Israel to Jews. The arguement is that the United States of America has lost its is moral foundation and if we stopped abortions, returned prayer to school, stop gay marriages, curtail illegal immigration, and teach creationism in the schools all would be right.  Such a concept is misguided. Now all the above are good, moral things, but returning to such moral laws will not change what is at the heart of the problems in this country.

     This country was actually founded on individualism.  Individual rights trump all.  Each person has the right and ability to grow within the context of the laws legislated.  The moral changes to this country were not a deviation from the foundations, but really just where the founding principles of the country essentially lead, greater emphasis on self. 

      It is also worth noting that if all the immoral laws in this country were changed, it would not change the emphasis on self.  Take a look at prohibition for example. This is a good, moral law with many good reasons to prohibit the sale of alcohol.  It was though short sighted, because there was no change of heart or desire for alcohol, it simply grew an increase in illegal activities. 

     A push for a change in moral laws does nothing to change the hearts of people.  Rather, people still pursue what they choose, regardless of consequences.  Now that doesn’t mean moral laws serve no purpose.  It is a matter that the salvation of this nation is not about a change in moral laws.  It is essentially about whether each individual surrenders to God or keeps pursuing their own kingdoms and agendas. 

    Politics is all about increase power bases.  It is about who gets the say in the laws.  We all vote on what we think is best for us and our kingdom and our own perception of what is beneficial.  The myth of the United States of America being a Christian nation serves ultimately to sway votes and to increase power bases.  If someone feels a particular political persuasion is more righteous because of moral footings, they are mistaken.  The end result can be seeking after a political messiah who will right the wrongs. 

     On both sides of the political spectrum, a messiah is essentially what people are looking for. Someone who provides political answers to what they perceive are the problems, when the politicians are simply doing what they can to ensure they obtain position and power.

     So what is a Christian to do.  I believe a Christian needs to remember again that our citizenship is not of this world.  We are Ambassadors for Jesus.  In the United States of America, we get the right to vote for a select group of candidates.  I encourage all to vote their conscience regarding the varied political views, but make no mistake. United States of America is not a Christian nation and a return to moral laws is not the real change needed.  People need to be able to move beyond themselves and surrender to the King of Kings, Jesus.  There are and will be many fine sounding political answers to problems in the world. They will all be flawed and answers only temporary.  I encourage folks to stop focusing on looking for political answers and rather find ways to draw others unto Jesus.

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2 Responses

  1. I agree that simply changing law will not effect change within the hearts of men. But without morality based upon principles found in religion, civilization is doomed.

    from John Marshall (3rd Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, founding father of USA) in “The Life of George Washington” 1838, quoting Washington’s farewell address September 19, 1796

    Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labour to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

    ’Tis substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule indeed extends with more or less force to every species of free Government. Who that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric

    But if you think that the USA was founded on individualism, I think you are mistaken. The country united on the principles of Christianity and liberty, according to John Adams in a Letter to Thomas Jefferson. Liberty is not the same as indivdualism.

    http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=2127&layout=html
    28 June, 1813

    The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence, were the only principles in which that beautiful assembly of young men could unite, and these principles only could be intended by them in their address, or by me in my answer. And what were these general principles? I answer, the general principles of Christianity, in which all those sects were united, and the general principles of English and American liberty, in which all those young men united, and which had united all parties in America, in majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her independence. Now I will avow, that I then believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God; and that those principles of liberty are as unalterable as human nature and our terrestrial, mundane system.

  2. Please outline what at all is “Christian” or the “Christian” principles emphasized. Now perhaps you are referencing the moral framework and that man is sinful. But I do not see any advocation toward any “system” of government. Also please explain how the concept of Liberty as emphasized by deists and mason’s fits with the biblical concept of Liberty.

    Yes, Christians were involved as were mystics, masons, and atheists. Also interested really in any concept of how “revolution” fits in keeping with Biblical concepts.

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