- Is America a Christian Nation? Part 1 of 2
- Is America a Christian Nation? Part 2 of 2
A few weeks ago, our good friend Ana from Brazil sent us a note with a video clip of Barack Obama’s comments on whether the USA was a Christian nation. The tape, titled Obama and Religion, was from a message that he delivered at the June 28, 2006 keynote speech at a “Call to Renewal” conference.
As delivered, Obama stated “Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation – at least, not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.”
There is an often bitter debate in North America between those who function from an Atheistic and secular worldview and those who seek to function from a Judeo-Christian worldview. The question: Is America a Christian nation?
On one level this is a complex question. Were we founded as a Christian nation? Are we a Christian nation today? What is a Christian nation? Was the original intent that the USA would be a tyrannical sort of nation where only Christians could live?
I think it can be historically demonstrated that most of the founding fathers were professed Christians, functioning from a Biblical worldview and seeking to build a Christian nation where there was freedom of religion.
Is America a Christian nation today? I would argue we are not. As a nation and as the church, we have largely abandoned the worldview of our founding fathers. The nation is increasingly grounded on an Atheistic and secular worldview that seeks to create a nation whose goal is freedom from religion.
The church has largely jettisoned the Judeo-Christian worldview of our founding fathers for a dualist worldview that separates our faith from life. Our faith is, as the secularists want, largely personal, private, and for Sundays. We have disengaged from the acts of creating godly culture and nation-building based on Biblical principle and worldview. We are no longer a “Monday Church,” but only a Sunday church.
We were designed to be a pluralistic nation where people were free to follow their conscience and worship or not worship as they pleased.
-Darrow L. Miller
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theoraclemagJanuary 8, 2009 - 3:24 pm
Good Post. I would say that we are a not a christian nation, and we never were. How can a nation that is built on the backs of slaves claim to be christian? Look our present State and you will see we are far from christ.
darrow millerJanuary 8, 2009 - 9:22 pm
Thanks for your comments. You are right that slavery and racism are a tragic, or perhaps we need a stronger word – blight on America’s history. However, in our founding documents we broke precedence with other nations and civilizations by articulating the Biblical ideal that all men and women are created equal and that they are endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We have certainly not lived up to the ideal; but thankfully, over time, we have repudiated slavery and have moved towards this ideal. There will be more on this in the next blog.
TylerJanuary 17, 2009 - 7:55 am
darrow, i am curious your thoughts on the founding fathers. were the majority of them christians or deists? i do think that our founding had more of a judeo-christian framework that any other nation, though i think the influence of deism had some pretty dramatic effects as well.
darrow l. millerJanuary 17, 2009 - 2:49 pm
There is no question that the founders were overwhelmingly Christian. While they may not all have been what we would today call “evangelicals” they were definitely functioning from a Judeo-Christian worldview and sought to build a nation based on Biblical principle. Two of the founders, Franklin and Jefferson, could be considered inconsistent Deists. They were philosophically inclined to Deism, and yet they both were men who prayed; Deists don’t normally pray as God does not listen.
I have been doing research for the last two years on a new book on the Great Co-Mission. One of the chapters looks at the founders of the USA as consciously Christian men and women who wanted to build a nation that sought to “obey all that I (Christ) have commanded (Matt. 28:20). It would be good to share the results of my research with you someday.