America is not a Christian Nation, Thank God.

Introduction

There has been much complaint amongst some Christians regarding president Obama’s statement that the United States is not a Christian Nation. While I can understand where this controversy is coming from (when I was a child I too was under the impression that The US was a Christian nation), I agree with President Obama on this one statement and I intend to spell out why my fellow believers should rejoice in this fact rather than recoil.

Before I begin, I would like to make two things abundantly clear. First of all, I am a devout Christian. I believe in God, the Lord Jesus Christ and his sacrifice on calvary and subsequent rise from the dead three days later. Secondly, I am not fan of president Barack Obama. I voted for McCain, not because I believe McCain was much better for the country than Bush, but because I felt Obama was inexperienced and quick to waste money, two feelings I still hold to and consider confirmed by his actions to this point. This is no lovefest for the president, rather I am attempting to defend this one statement which is wisely rooted in the first amendment.

Who’s Christianity

When some make the argument that we are, or should be, a Christian Nation, they generally make two great assumptions. First it is assumed that creating a Christian Nation is Christ’s Desire, or that it would please him. Secondly it is assumed that Christianity and its ethics, are monolithic, agreed upon and easily defined. Both of these assumptions are Faulty.

For One, there is no indication that Christ intended, or intends, for his followers to build a worldly government based upon his teaching. In fact, Christ says quite specifically that his kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). It seems to me that Christ was more concerned with the state of an individual’s soul rather than the form of his government.

Secondly, Christianity is not monolithic. There is one important question for those wishing to establish a Christian Nation; Who’s version or interpretation of Christianity shall we model this government on? Should it be a strict fundamentalist state where strict gender roles and holiness codes are enforced as a matter of law? Should it be a Roman Catholic State where the laws and faith of the citizens is answerable to the rulings and interpretations of the Magisterium and the Papacy? Should it be an Amish community where unnecessary comforts, luxuries and conveniences are avoided so that we do not become puffed up with pride?

It is important to understand that one Christian’s theology is another’s heterodoxy, and ones ethics are another’s legalism. Under a Catholic Nation, Divorce would be strictly prohibited. Under A fundamentalist government certain forms of entertainment and media would be prohibited. Catholics, do you wish to be governed by Fundamentalist Baptists? Baptists, do you wish to be answerable to Rome?

And what of nonbelievers. Where in the New Testament is it shown that we must force our beliefs and way of life on those who do not accept our message? Yes we are to evangelize and share the light of Christ in a darkened world, but we are never instructed to rule over nonbelievers and make them live by our way. We all have been given the gift of free will, and just as we have chosen Christ, they have not chosen Him. They have been given that same option.

Another dangerous assumption is that ChristianNation will live by Christian Principles and we will be better people for it. There have been many Christian nations in the past, and a great many of them have shamed the name of Christ. Christian nations are responsible for the Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials and the Pogroms against the Jews. The British Empire, arguably the greatest Christian nation on the face of the planet, was partially (with the United States and some African nations)responsible for the American Slave Trade, where countless innocent individuals were bought and sold like chattel, forced into back breaking labor for no pay. Corruption can wrap its claws around any government, whether it calls itself secular, Christian, Muslim etc. as long as it is managed by men.

Conclusion

And that is the most important point. These are governments of men. As long as men rule over men, the inherent weaknesses and sinfulness of men will be an ever present issue. To call a government Christian is to say that it is of Christ, and I can say confidently of all human governments, this simply is not so.

So far I have discussed why we are not, and should not be a Christian Nation. I have yet to fulfill my promise and state why we should be glad of this fact. Simply put,  the reason is freedom. We, living in a secular government, have the freedom to act upon our faith and conscience without the restriction of a bureaucratic Church/State legislating our religion, a very deep and personal thing.

Under a secular (but not atheistic) state, a Catholic is free to be a Catholic, a Protestant a Protestant, a Muslim a Muslim, a Jew a Jew, and an atheist an atheist, without interference.

I as a Christian am free to believe what I believe without censor. To secure this right for myself I must secure it for others. The right to be a Christian by following my conscience, necessitates that I live in a Secular State.

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1 Response to “America is not a Christian Nation, Thank God.”


  1. 1 leftcoastlibrul May 14, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    mathaytacechristou, excellent points all. I appreciate your perspective.


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