Is America a Christian Nation?

There are many terrific things we can say about America. We we were the first to create a government ruled by law rather than evil whims of kings. We the people were the first given the right to choose our leaders. Moreover, we are perhaps the most generous people in all history. But does this qualify us as a Christian nation?

Those who argue pro and con on this question cite the values and spiritual pedigree of the founding fathers. No question that our constitution is founded on Christian values of freedom and equality. But to find a genuine litmus test to identify how to spot what is and isn’t true Christianity, we must turn to Jesus who said, “By their fruits you shall know them.” [Matthew 7: 16, 20]. He explains what “fruits” are in verse 21: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” In other words, fruits are not what we say, or what’s written in our documents, but what we do.

This means true faith and true Christianity is not judged by religious declarations, creeds and doctrines, but by right and just behavior. Even words of worship, “Lord, Lord,” don’t cut it. In the secular realm, Congress passed laws in the 50’s, inserting “under God” in our pledge to the flag and mandated “In God we trust” be stamped on our coins. Yet a few decades later, our Supreme Court reversed these declarations by ruling  God’s name will no longer be called upon in our public schools. [Engel v.s Vitale).  Today the name of God is not allowed to be said in any group that receives public funds.  Neither can there be any objection to homosexual marriage or behaviors. Clearly, words alone are not the evidence of  what is  Christian. What then does authenticate true belief?

To spot true faith, Jesus says look for actions that fulfill God’s will. But what exactly is His will? Consider the great commandment, to love God and others. The Apostle John declared we cannot say we love God without loving actions toward others. He’s wants fruit, products of faith—loving acts of justice, mercy and reconciliation.

We Americans can be proud of our record for aiding people abroad who have been devastated by wars and disasters . But consider how we have treated many  within our borders? Here are just a few examples.

  1. Except for the pilgrims, our white ancestors’ treatment of the native populations was brutal. One example, among hundreds, is found in a  a prominent colonist letter to the governor at Fort Pitt.  “… [Let’s] try to inoculate the Indians [with smallpox] with infected blankets and any other means to extirpate this execrable race.” Settlers thought this a good idea and distributed blankets to them from contagious patients.
  2. Later, federal troops drove nearly 100,000 Cherokee people off their lands and forced them to march 1000 miles to Oklahoma. causing 4,000 deaths. When gold was discovered in the  Dakotas, our government waged a ruthless war against the Sioux, forcing them off their land.  And let’s not forget sad incidents like Wounded Knee or all the many treaties we made with Native Americans and then broke.
  3. A multitude of Africans were kidnapped, shipped here in chains, sold to white settlers and forced to work under brutal conditions with no pay. If they didn’t submit, they were beaten or worse. Families were torn apart. Many African Americans have European DNA, often because  white masters used female slaves to satisfy their lusts.
  4. The primary motive for this injustice wasn’t meanness or lust. It was greed. The use of slaves brought great wealth to America. In 1850 the U.S.’s largest capital investment was its 3.2 million slaves. But just as John Brown predicted, America paid for these sins in blood. More than 800,000 of our young men spilled their blood in a vicious civil war. It emancipated black Americans, but have they recovered from centuries of slavery? Today many still populate our inner-cities in ghetto-like poverty, dependent on public aid as saves depended on white masters.
  5. In 1973 a Supreme Court ruling [Roe v Wade] made it legal to kill unborn babies. Here is yet another example of how we have mistreated millions  within our land. Can we innocently point our finger at the government and say “they did it?” We cannot for as Lincoln pointed out, our government is “of the people for the people and by the people.”

These and many other things in our history disqualify America to be labeled Christian. We render to America what Jesus said we should to Caesar, the state. But God’s nation is not America nor is it any  political entity. How then is God present in the world today? Where do we find a witness to his loving acts of mercy and forgiveness? St. Paul writes of a different kind of “land”, a “new Israel.” Peter describes a “holy nation.”  Our next post identifies God’s new Israel and holy nation.

O Lord, ewe intercede for our great land. Bless us with good leadership in the days ahead. Put us back on a just course and bring right living and right relationships to your people.

Please join the conversation. Your comments encourage us in this ministry.

 

14 thoughts on “Is America a Christian Nation?

    • Thanks Doug. I wrote this upon reading a thing written by a “pastor” emphasizing how America needs to recover it’s greatness by as a Christian nation by voting for Trump. Where did this political “triumphalism” come from? How is it we pray for America, a fine nation, but still a nation that will pass away, like all nations, but fail to pray for God’s nation, the New Israel, the Bride of Christ, the Body of Christ, the Church of Jesus Christ. BTW. I was up till 2 am writing what I consider the most Holy Spirit-inspired thing I’ve ever written called, “What are we Missing?

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    • Thank you Susan Irene. I admire how you’re emphasizing the good old agape principle. I just posted something–I was up till 2 am writing. I felt such inspiration, as though Holy Spirit was looking over my shoulder, saying, Yeah, now you’ve got it. I’m sure you’ve experienced that as a writer. Any way, its called, “What Are We Missing, introduced by Ben Franklin’s great quote, “We had better hang together, or most assuredly, we will hang separately.” The church in America is hanging all right, but in my opinion, by a thread. We need to affirm, encourage, forgive, and tolerate each others’ craziness and move ahead towards unity or, I’m afraid, the American church will lose yet another Generation, the Millennials.

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  1. In my list of posts, I have The Christianising of America. A different spin than this but, I tried to lay things on the line, nonetheless.

    If we base our behaviors, as you have listed here, we are far from being a Christian nation. However, I would say that the First Amendment prohibits us from being a Christian nation, anyway. My real contention is the concentration on this line of thought is preposterous and is a counterfeit distraction from us loving God, loving our neighbor and loving one another.

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    • Thanks John. I wrote this after reading a long thing written by a “pastor” emphasizing how America needs to change if we are to remain a Christian nation, than spent a page telling why it’s vital to vote for Trump. Where did this political “triumphalism” come from? How is it we pray for America, a fine nation, but just a nation, and fail to pray for God’s nation, the New Israel, the Bride of Christ, the Body of Christ, the Church of Jesus Christ. BTW. I was up till 2 am writing what I consider the most Holy Spirit thing I’ve ever written called, “What are we Missing?

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      • Just saw that one. Your passion for “love one another” is great! We may not agree, we may have doctrinal differences, but we should…should…be able to come together in His Name. Not slapping His Name on our agendas, but seeking Him, putting aside the other stuff, and going forward with one another to accomplish what He is saying/doing.

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      • I loved your comment, John. I’m trying to love others, but finding it’s a lot easier to write about than practice. I got really angry at what my dog did today and for the first time spanked him. He came right back to me, tail between his legs, licking my hand, loving me as faithfully as ever, even when he failed to obey me. The other night I got discouraged about my CAD and some other physical issues. I was praying and grieving over my failing body, when I’m sure I heard the Lord say, “Yes, Wade, I understand, I grieve over my failing body as well. Keep praying for her”I

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    • RE: First Amendment. Please study the historical background of the first amendment. You will not find the words “separation of church and state.” meant kicking God out of our public institutions. What you will find is the founding father’s determination to keep what happened in Europe, where royal tyranny forced men to believe their way. The first amendment is about freedom to believe, not disbelieve. Jefferson’s children and all children then were taught to read and write out of the McGuffy Reader, I believe. It was completely from the Bible. The Church failed us when they did nothing to fight against the minority of atheists who pushed through banning prayer in school. The fruits of that are now teachers are persecuted if they mention anything about religion, God, especially Christian religion in schools and it;s spilled over into every group receiving any federal funding.

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      • In all fairness, we have many people of many walks of life who pay their fair share of taxes. Why should we be the only ones to be “part of the system”?

        Further danger is the potential for doctrinal differences. Because of that, I am glad that Christianity has no foothold in the public school systems as we don’t need one set of doctrines being lorded or argued over another.
        If we allow Christianity and prayer to remain in our schools, then we have a firestorm regarding the variety of denominations and other religions who will want their equitable standing.

        Whether we have prayer in school, or not, does not have any bearing on our being able love and share the Gospel. Nor, does it affect society as much as some would say it does.

        What has affected society? One thing is that many in our ranks push church and law and do not love and serve. Instead of sharing the Gospel and imitating Christ, we threaten people with hell if they don’t go our way.

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      • “Gutsy” praying or impurtunate praying, which Jesus applauds, assumes the requests are in line with those made in Scripture. The name it and claim it chapter is a shameful one. Jesus wants us to prosper more in soul, than in material possession of this world, the desire for which Paul calls idolatry.

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      • RE: First Amendment. Please study the historical background of the first amendment. You will not find the words “separation of church and state.” meant kicking God out of our public institutions. What you will find is the founding father’s determination to keep what happened in Europe, where royal tyranny forced men to believe their way. The first amendment is about freedom to believe, not disbelieve. Jefferson’s children and all children then were taught to read and write out of the McGuffy Reader, I believe. It was completely from the Bible. The Church failed us when they did nothing to fight against the minority of atheists who pushed through banning prayer in school. The fruits of that are now teachers are persecuted if they mention anything about religion, God, especially Christian religion in schools and it;s spilled over into every group receiving any federal funding.

        Like

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