Is the United States a Christian Nation?
Was America founded as a Christian nation and upon Christian values?
"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion"
--Treaty of Tripoli, Art. 11. Authored and signed by John Adams (founding father). Ratified by congress on Jun 9, 1797.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free excersise thereof"
--First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
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Side Score: 30
Historically, there is no argument, the answer is an unequivocal yes. The founding fathers were almost exclusively very vocal Christians, albeit from various faiths. The architecture of early America denotes numerous examples of the faith of Americans, from the supreme court building to the many monuments in Washington as well as other major cities. Virtually all of the first Universities were founded by churches.
As for the state of the US now.....probably not.
480 days ago | Side: yes
The founding fathers were almost exclusively very vocal Christians
Except for Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Ethan Allen, and James Monroe, who were Deists.
Historically, there is no argument
You are correct in this assessment.
"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..." ~Treaty of Tripoli; Article XI
Submitted by John Adams to the U.S. senate in 1797, which passed unanimously
The architecture of early America denotes numerous examples of the faith of Americans
You make the same mistake many modern Americans make. You conflate Belief of Early Americans with the nature of it's Government which is very much secular. While many early Americans as well as many of the founding fathers were christian, there is no doubt about this, they were also very well aware of what had been happening in England for the past 200 years or so and in Europe for the past 1,000 years. Europe was a continent soaked in blood due to divergent religious beliefs. Some religious beliefs received official sanction by governments in Europe, and this was the cause of much bloodshed. Our founding fathers thought it important to have a Government that acts neutral in regards to religion, as to avoid many of the problems encountered in Europe.
478 days ago | Side: No
Ben Franklin said: “The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?”
While Jefferson was certainly an atheist, that simply tells us he could be wrong in other ways also...."I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious."
But my point stands; the majority of the founders were strong men of faith, and were adamant that the government should not dictate our faith, but leave us alone to pursue (or not) God however we chose to.
Congress appointed chaplains for itself and the armed forces, sponsored the publication of a Bible, imposed Christian morality on the armed forces, and granted public lands to promote Christianity among the Indians. National days of thanksgiving and of "humiliation, fasting, and prayer" were proclaimed by Congress at least twice a year throughout the war of independence. Congress was guided by "covenant theology," a Reformation doctrine especially dear to New England Puritans, which held that God bound himself in an agreement with a nation and its people. They put "In God we trust" on our currency.
The treaty quote you refer to had a point..." it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries." But Adams also said..." "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
You are correct, early architecture does not prove foundational intent.
477 days ago | Side: Yes
Locke and similar social contract theorists and liberal philosophies that can trace their ideological origins back to Plato and Socrates are the creators of the principles the USA was founded on. Many of the nation's founders were a mix between Christianity and deistic ideology. While many believed religion to be important for morals, many believed that the church could not instill true religion via coercive methods such as the state apparatus and have personally seen what religious sectarianism can do with in the colonies and the motherland. They believed in the freedom of conscious of each individual, and in john lock's rights of "life and liberty", although I wish they would of included the third: "property". While many immigrants to the united states were christian, no biblical principle is codified in our constitution nor does the bible endorse the American system.
481 days ago | Side: No
Did they have rules outlawing same sex marriage and sodomy? Did their public schools teach the children about God…the Lord Prayer? Did their Supreme Court state that we are a Christian country? Did they have an outside observer from another country like Alexis de Tocqueville write a book about their Christian Heritage and that by all appearances we were living as Christians in a nation based on Christ? Did their capital have biblical verses from the Bible…quoted all over their buildings? And what does "IN the year of our LOrd" mean? Does it mean little Lord Flauntleroy?
If you examine what the Founders said there is no question as to where our faith lied at that time. All that is positive in our countries foundation can be traced back to the scriptures. It is unfortunate that today if you declare that you think we were a Christian Nation and your on peoples hate lists and your thought as nutcase. But these are people who do not know the facts of history. If you want quotes from the founding Fathers would be glad to post them. I have accumulated over one hundred that include Jesus, Scriptures, God, Moses…..I also have speeches and other documentation.
481 days ago | Side: yes
Simply because people attempted to institutionalize their particular take on religion into the republic, doesn't mean that America was ever a theocracy. The "degradation" from god being taught in schools to secular education and so forth is due to the precedent set in the constitution. Further more, the morality of such things and if they should be touched by the state is a hotly contested area amongst even Christians.
If America was a christian nation, you wouldn't need to mine for quotes of people using their personal beliefs to justify government action; you would find it explicitly in the very basis of the government; the constitution. The bill of rights doesn't even include a biblical commandment.
Also, would you address the point I was making instead of going off on a tangent? The speeches and so forth are irrelevant.
Can you find a biblical quote that supports the bill of rights? Or the separation of the government into 3 distinct parts, etc? Did Jesus ever say that judges of a society laws should be appointed by the leader of the military and hold their positions for life?
481 days ago | Side: No
Nowhere does the Constitution say that there is a wall of separation of church and state. This was a phrase used by Jefferson, not in any official document but in a letter he sent to the Danbury Baptists.
The idea that we were a Christian nation is the real war we are having today. It is a battle of worldviews…and this has a direct affect on our culture. So today we play tug of war over moral issues…especially abortion and gay marriage. (pornography, euthanasia, cloning, stem cell research and even hate crimes legislation)
If America was never a Christian nation then what was it? It was not that of a Muslim influence or atheistic Marxist nation either….or Jewish or humanistic. Were we a nation influenced by say the French Revolution? Was the Humanist Manifesto our guidebook to lives issues? How many of those I just mentioned promote human dignity?
No this nation in one way or another has gone to bat for most countries in the world who live under these systems. This is not because people in the country are just morally without God on the same page. The thing that has connected the nation morally has been God. The Bible is the book that made America. I believe the earths stability has all to do with the health of the Christian religion. Facts are facts and people today are trying to rewrite history to include things that just are not true. My parents had a set of encyclopedias….Britannica. I remember reading them and doing reports for school…. 1970ish…. In them were series of original writing of American History. They all attested to our Christian beginnings. I read quotes from our Founders…that included Jesus Christ, scripture, Lord, God, Moses….etc.
I have compiled a list of quotes that show that our beginning…even before the Founders time…was that of the Christian faith.
Men who recognize the facts of history long ago…make a stance…like the one Ronald Reagan did when he was president. It was not too long ago, when he declared 1983 the year of the Bible.
America was founded for religious liberty. The goal of the Founders was that we be free to live according to our consciences. Why should Christians be singled out for persecution on this when…it was President Washington who said that we would never be a happy nation unless we lived like good Christians, living in imitation of Jesus Christ? Of course people have always been welcome in America who believe in some other faith. But it is so today that when we speak of tolerance of opinion or viewpoint (very Christian trait) its being abused against those with the very worldview from whence it came? Christianity. The very issue of tolerance is America at the core. Our Christian heritage defines us as does our tolerance for opposing world views.
To finish…I just can't believe those who deny our Heritage. You can certainly and I would agree today that we are not Christian…but history does not back up this claim.
What document said that our rights come from God and it is the duty of the state not to interfere with that? The Declaration of Independence did. Mentions God four times.
In the early nineteenth century what took place in the Rotunda of the U.S Capital building? An evangelical preached Christian worship service.
If you took a visit to Washington and went to the Capitol how many pictures are displayed that contain direct evidence of our Christian Heritage? Four contain direct references to Christianity. One shows Columbus landing and on one side you can see the planting of the cross. The second is that of Pocohontas being baptized. The third…shows the Pilgrims with a large open Bible with Jesus written on it. They are having a prayer service aboard the Mayflower. The last picture shows some Spanish explorers…one is holding a crucifix on a pole.
What document opens with "In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten….having undertaken, for the glory of God, and the advancement of the Christian faith, a voyage'?
The Mayflower Compact which is one of our most important documents of all history. In it they specifically declare the motivations of the Pilgrims and why they came over.
How many Pilgrim-Puritan constitutions, charters, compacts, of which the Mayflower Compact is one, led up the THE Constitution?
100. The Constitution is a indirect outgrowth of the Puritans charters and documents. This might be one reason why Newsweek declared that the Bible is our founding document.
What document begines "In the Name of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity'? The Peace Treaty ending the American Revolution.
There is a bible verse (Leviticus) on the Liberty Bell. Wow….where is that separation of church and state?
I'll end with this…it was not secularism that made America great…it was the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Wall? Only in those peoples minds who do not know history.
481 days ago | Side: No
No one is denying that Christianity, as the dominate religion has made it's mark on the nation. Perhaps the problem is the definition of founding, and what it means to be a christian nation. You seem to take the mere fact that Christianity was dominate and was expressed to mean that it was a founding force of the nation, however I take a much more strict measure.
Christianity used to be far more sectarian than it is today, religious tolerance was a foreign concept for many Christians then, who only travels for the sake of their own religious beliefs and not those of the other sects. Religious liberty, wasn't their goal.
Btw, the establishment clause is often known as the separation of church and state clause.
481 days ago | Side: yes
The Declaration of Independence states..."We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" The first paragraph states..."When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them..."
The church was left out of the constitution because they feared a "state church", not because they wanted to ignore the church. Which echos your contention that They believed in the freedom of conscious of each individual, and in john lock's rights of "life and liberty"....since the two are not mutually exclusive.
480 days ago | Side: yes
The church was left out of the constitution because they feared a "state church", not because they wanted to ignore the church.
And how is this consonant with your view that the United States is a Christian Nation? Is "not ignoring the church" equivalent with being "founded on Christianity"?
478 days ago | Side: No
What these kinds of debates often come down to are simply a misplacing/misunderstanding of what are Christian values. Christians assert, when arguing that the United States was/is a Christian nation, that the values the founders preached are exclusively Christian. What this presumes, however, is that these values originated solely from the Christian church. However, I would posit that values like "life, liberty, and property" come from values developed outside of the exclusive influence of the Church. I would say "the right to bear arms" is against the foundation of Christian principles of pacifism and tolerance. I would say that "no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" is counter the traditional hierarchical organization of Christian establishments.
The fact that we have laws regulating social behavior that happens to additionally be judged similarly by the Bible is more coincidental than causal. Our laws tend to be based on common sense, and as close to universal values (within and especially without Christianity's sphere of influence) as we may be.
480 days ago | Side: No
Our country began far earlier than our Founders time….when the Constitution was penned. I am saying from the earliest settler…it was not secular but Christian. In the Founders day….it was Christian. Our public schools taught biblical principles….they sang Christian songs…memorized biblical passages. The lifestyle was Christian. Most the Founders agreed with this…and stated it speeches and letters. We were not Muslim, Jewish, atheist in nature or anything else. This was not recognized…as SCOTUS at the time even stated that we were a Christian nation. State Constitutions named Jesus Christ and even some forbid anyone other than a Christian from holding a political office. Harvard….did not allow anyone in that was not Christian…and the top career choice….pastors.
The right to bear arms….do you think Christ would want Christians to just roll over and play dead if their lives were threatened? No not at all. People think that because we are Christian that we should not advocate violence whatsoever…that we should in fact…do nothing….not life one finger in opposition to anything. There were wars talked about in the OT and the NT. God sanctioned wars and self defense. Christ was not a whimp who sat around singing Kumbaya.
I am not talking about some secular understanding of religious tolerance or of Christianity itself. I am talking about specific examples that show….that America has always been from the start Christian. By that I mean….Christ is involved…not just nice rules to live by. Christ was the center…and people read the scriptures and the scriptures affected their moral decisions….NOT LIKE TODAY…
I believe today most Christians believe but don't do anything. God is inside the box and they are outside the box. Most are Christian in name only…they do not take to heart what God commands them to do or how to live. Historical revisionists have knocked Christ down a few notches. Just read about the Jesus Seminar…and their goals. So today Jesus is just a moral leader who was not divine like the scriptures say he is. People believe what THEY WANT TO BELIEVE….without taking the scriptures into account for anything. Our society is so removed from the scriptures….why God would want to bless our nation is beyond me…and I don't think He does anymore.
We do have laws that govern us. Today they have changed however. Why was gay marriage never allowed if we were secular? Do you think that the scriptures did not influence this at all? Why was sodomy illegal? Prostitution?
Adultry? If we were secular and God played no part…..all of these would have been legal…and thought moral. But that is not the case.
Bias always comes into play and it has when making laws. What is legal is moral so it seems. Abortion was once immoral and thought wrong by society. How is it today? It is legal and moral obviously.
I guess if like you say its common sense…then gay marriage and adoption and sodomy should all be illegal. It always has been and it just makes sense.
that it remains that way.
480 days ago | Side: yes
"Our country began far earlier than our Founders time….when the Constitution was penned. I am saying from the earliest settler…it was not secular but Christian."
I see, so just because the first settlers were orthodox Puritans, everything that followed was necessarily Christian in nature. That's like saying because the Greeks predated Rome, Romans necessarily followed all Greek culture and customs. I hope you can be rational enough to notice the flaw in logic there. Though they may be similar, I hardly think you could call the Greeks Romans or vice versa.
" The lifestyle was Christian."
Because they were Puritans. You like to skim over parts of history in which religion wasn't center. Even so, you say Christian like it automatically means something. The various dominant sects (Puritan, Quaker, Protestant, Revivalist, Catholic, etc.)had more to do with beliefs than some overarching theme about Christians.
Since when is a state the federal government? The only binding document of the United States is the United States Constitution (and subsequent treaties), not various states' constitutions.
"Christ was not a whimp who sat around singing Kumbaya."
It was just an example, and I resent your use of a straw man fallacy. I never said he was a wimp, just that he advocated non-violence (e.g. "turn the other cheek").
"Christ was the center"
Never officially sanctioned by the federal government.
"I believe today most Christians believe but don't do anything. God is inside the box and they are outside the box. Most are Christian in name only…they do not take to heart what God commands them to do or how to live. Historical revisionists have knocked Christ down a few notches. Just read about the Jesus Seminar…and their goals. So today Jesus is just a moral leader who was not divine like the scriptures say he is. People believe what THEY WANT TO BELIEVE….without taking the scriptures into account for anything. Our society is so removed from the scriptures….why God would want to bless our nation is beyond me…and I don't think He does anymore."
This entire paragraph is irrelevant to the debate.
"Today they have changed however."
Laws are in a constant state of flux as our views and interpretations of morality are constantly in a state of flux.
"Why was gay marriage never allowed if we were secular?"
Because of homophobia, which anthropologically predates any claims the Bible has over being the origin of homophobia.
"Do you think that the scriptures did not influence this at all?"
I'm sure they did, especially at least in California, Prop. 8 being pushed by the Mormon church with negative ads and false information to mislead a population, making them believe that "it was for the children" that there should be no gay parents married.
It is legal in some places. Additionally, it is more instituted by governments to try to prevent the spread of STI's, limit unwanted pregnancies, and discourage prostitution because of the negative social ramifications (stigma, pimps, violence, etc.).
"If we were secular and God played no part…..all of these would have been legal…and thought moral"
Obviously not. First, you assume that the Bible founded the belief in these various social practices, which is blatantly false. Second, you assert that necessarily without the Bible, we would behave in a way that would negatively affect society. However, there is no evidence to support this claim, and is in fact counter intuitive. There is no reason to assume that governments would institute laws and legislation that would knowingly and maliciously cause the end of a prosperous society.
"What is legal is moral so it seems. "
I would never say that.
"Abortion was once immoral and thought wrong by society. How is it today? It is legal and moral obviously."
I wouldn't say that either. I would say abortion is amoral. That is, I would say aborting a fetus does not necessarily always carry emotional/moral baggage.
"then gay marriage and adoption and sodomy should all be illegal. It always has been and it just makes sense."
No, that is the opposite of common sense. Just because "it always has been" does not mean "it just makes sense" (especially since it hasn't "always been").
479 days ago | Side: No
The unites states is not a person, it cannot have an opion or religion. It is also not owned by any one person, so long as all citizens are not perfectly the same in their beliefs it cannot be stated that a country, which separates religion from government, is a country of religious affinity. The christian nation, which is defined by the people who believe in christianity and christ, is the only christian nation there is. the notion of a nation is a term which applies to a group of people of common belief or practice. The citizens of the united states are unified in their citizenship to the geo-political entity that is the united states. religious affinities of those people do not appropriately reflect the character of the united states because religiosity is not relevant to this entity. They are categorically distinct
479 days ago | Side: No
We have become a secular humanistic mess. Nothing about our nation is Christian and I would guess that the majority of people who claim Christianity and to love and follow Christ don't live it and walk it. Barna has done studies on this and his findings back up what I am saying.
I believe we started out as a Christian country however.
482 days ago | Side: No
"I believe we started out as a Christian country however."
"And let us establish herein that the united States of America is established as a country based on Christian principles and the belief in the Christian God." Article 0, Section 0, penned by no one.
481 days ago | Side: No