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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christianity and America part 1: Why the USA was indeed founded as a Christian nation (and we still are today)

Now that the bountiful feasts of Thanksgiving are behind us and Black Friday has come and gone, we now settle into the Christmas corridor, that month long stretch where virtually everything is focused around Christmas in one way or another.  Christmas parties will being to pop up.  People start planning their trips and vacation accordingly.  Schools will have their Christmas  holiday programs. And as such, we're also going to see all the increasingly disturbing attacks on people expressing their faith by atheists targeting those wanting to put up nativity scenes or crosses or anything else that resembles Christianity shown in a public place (as an aside:  Do  you ever hear of atheists doing this to Muslims? That's for another post).  The point is there seems to be an ongoing hostility to Christian traditions in this country and it seems many people, Christians included, agree with this.  

It seems there's this idea that "separation of church and state" means absolutely no displays of religion, or Christianity rather, by government or even in public places by private businesses.  I'm here to point out that not only is this not the case, but that liberals have been exploiting this one line for decades to achieve their goal of reducing the Christian influence on our nation (which is a bad thing...again that'll be for another post).  I'm initiating a multi part series about Christianity and America.  This first part will argue why this country is indeed a Christian nation and why we still are today.  Subsequent parts will cover more topics.  Now onto part 1....

First let's start with the "separation of church and state".   Contrary to popular belief this line is not in the First Amendment.   Not only that, it's not even in any of our official founding documents.   Many people (I'd venture to say most today) wrongly use the phrase out of its original context and attach it to the First Amendment.  The phrase actually was written by then President Thomas Jefferson in 1802 in response to a letter he received from the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut who had heard rumor that the government was going to adopt the Congregationalist denomination as the national denomination.  You see, this was alarming because the reason for the First Amendment was to avoid what happened in England where there was only one official denomination that caused so many problems and persecutions.   Anyway, this is where separation of church and state appears, but it was to show that government wouldn't adopt an official denomination and use that to persecute any other denominations.  It was not to indicate that religion and government should be completely separate.   As I've mentioned before, religion and politics are inextricable.  The intent of the First Amendment was to indicate that government should not favor any one practice of religion over another so much that it restricts the practice of different religions and denominations. Government could not dictate how you practiced your religion.  Yet, it doesn't mean that government wasn't allowed to practice themselves.

This establishes that our founding documents had no intention of separating religion from government.  But what the country being a "Christian" nation?  As much as many modern people, who probably base their opinion on the faulty "separation of church and state" logic mentioned above, like to believe that the founding fathers never explicitly intended for this country to be a Christian nation, it's wishful thinking at best.  Consider a snippet from  this article though I recommend reading the entire article (parts bolded for emphasis):

The process of drafting the First Amendment made the intent of the Founders abundantly clear; for before they approved the final wording, the First Amendment went through nearly a dozen different iterations and extensive discussions.
Those discussions—recorded in the Congressional Records from June 7 through September25 of 1789—make clear their intent for the First Amendment.  By it, the Founders were saying: “We do not want in America what we had in Great Britain: we don’t want one denomination running the nation.  We will not all be Catholics, or Anglicans, or any other single denomination.  We do want God’s principles, but we don’t want one denomination running the nation.”
This intent was well understood, as evidenced by court rulings after the First Amendment.
For example, a 1799 court declared:
“By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion; and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed on the same equal footing.”
Again, note the emphasis: “We do want Christian principles—we do want God’s principles—but we don’t want one denomination to run the nation.”

This country was formed with Christian principles as its foundation and was intended to be that way.  This was no accident.   The founding fathers recognized the intrinsic importance of Christian values and wanted them established here sans the tyranny imposed by the monarchies of Europe.   And in a couple cases, this has been reaffirmed by following administrations.  In God We Trust was added to our currency after the Civil War.  President Eisenhower added "under God" to the pledge of allegiance in the 50's (yes, that's the 1950's).   It wasn't until the latter half of the 20th century, when the liberal/progressives were able to create an ever increasing wedge, that our country has somewhat retreated from its Christian roots.  I say somewhat because while that's the trend of Hollywood , the media, and liberal college professors, it's still not the trend with mainstream America (which the former parties are trying their best to make happen).   Christianity may be on the decline, but it's still the vast majority.

Chances are, when encountering someone who doesn't believe this country is, or was founded as, a Christian nation they probably base it off the faulty logic surrounding the "separation of church and state" phrase.  They also base it off the phrase "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion", which they take a very liberal interpretation.  Essentially, they ignore the whole "make no law" part.  Public displays of Christian belief is not a law.  Having a nativity scene set up in a public park is no law.  Having a Bible verse on a cheerleader banner is not a law.  The argument is pretty flawed.

The bottom line is that yes, we were founded as Christian nation and we still are today.  Anyone that says otherwise, I would be highly suspect if their logic is built off of a faulty premise.

That wraps up part one.  In part two, I will cover the next logical question:  Should we still be a Christian nation?  Stay tuned.