...and it was not founded as such.
The United States may have many people who call themselves Christians, but evidence abounds that very few practice Christianity. I’ll get back to this.
Many who proclaim that the United States is a Christian Nation cite the Declaration of Independence. But “Christian” or “Christianity” do not appear in it or the Constitution. The closest to a religious statement in either is “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.”
But Thomas Jefferson, the drafter of the Declaration, was a hypocrite. He held slaves and did not pass on their Creator-given inalienable rights of liberty. Furthermore, what did “men” mean at that time? People of male gender as in the Adam and Eve story. Or people as in on the sixth day “God created man in his own image…male and female created he them.” - Genesis 1:27, King James Version.
The only “religious” word that appears in the original Constitution is “religious”, as in “but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Given all the religious tests that have been required, “ever” was not a very long time.
It took over 170 years for a Catholic to be elected President. And he felt compelled to be vetted by a group of Protestant ministers. It took a bit less for a Jew to be appointed to the Supreme Court. John McCain and Barack Obama had to be vetted by an Evangelical minister to prove their “Christianity”. Shame on Obama, the Constitutional professor, for submitting to this religious test.
And this same Constitutional professor is sponsoring his own “Prayer Breakfasts”. And shame on all the other politicians who do not have the political will to object to this religious test.
These prayer breakfasts also prove that these politicians are hypocrites. “And when thou prayest, thou shall not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men.” Matthew 6:5.
What does a Christian practice?
For starters the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and soul.”
The second is “Like unto it, to love thy neighbor as thyself.” And who was “thy neighbor”? The hated Samaritan who helped a Jew beaten and robbed by the side of the road.
A variation of the second commandment is “Do unto other as you would have them do unto you.” Would we like foreign troops stationed in our country? One of the reasons of the American Revolution was the stationing of British Troops in many of the Colonial cities. But we have bases in dozens of countries, sometimes welcomed by the populace, sometime hated by the populace.
Many congregations recite the “Lord’s Prayer”: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” The United States and many other countries have forgiven Germany and Japan for World War II, but has the U.S. gotten around to forgiving others that they have trespassed against?
U.S. mobsters practically ran Cuba and the U.S. supported the dictator Batista. Is it any wonder that a Cuban leader arose to oust Batista? And is it any wonder that leader wanted to reclaim the ill-gotten gains. But there are many “Christians” in the U.S. that still don’t want to forgive the Cuban government. Very strange that the U.S. had “good” relations with other Communist governments, including China.
The U.S. was implicit in the overthrow of Mohammad Mossaddegh of Iran and the support of the Shah with his brutal Savak. Is it any wonder the Ayatollahs have little love for the U.S? Who should be the first to “forgive those who trespass against us”?
“Blessed are the peacemakers” is part of the Beatitudes, but is U.S. peacekeeping around the world only making matters worse? See above about the British troops keeping peace in the Colonies. Are nuclear weapons peacemakers? Oh, yes! The Colt Peacemaker has the blessing of the Bible!
We definitely don’t have any “Christian” banks. How many of them are going to forgive loans every seven years, even for loans to Christians? Are “Christian” farmers not going to till the land every seven years? Unless they are farming only for themselves and have saved a lot of food, they would go bust.
Now we have many people asserting that their “freedom of religion” allows them to refuse to associate with certain people or to not have to abide by certain laws. There is a certain logic in this because “conscientious objectors” are allowed to avoid military service, but they have to do other public service instead. So if the “Christians” at the top of a corporation object to paying health insurance for abortions, should they then be required to contribute to a fund for child care?
My take of the “freedom of religion” clause in the First Amendment is that we are free to believe what we want, whether it’s the Big Guy in the Sky, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or a Golden Calf. It isn’t anybody else’s business. The writers of the Bill of Rights were only too aware of all the persecutions that had happened because somebody believed the “wrong” thing. The “freedom of religion” clause guarantees that we are free to believe what we want. In return we should let others believe what they want.
published in the Reader Weekly of Duluth, 2015-05-14 at http://duluthreader.com/articles/2015/05/13/5275_the_united_states_is_not_a_christian_nation