July 5th, 2011

Captain America Pensive

Why U.S. is not a Christian nation

http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/07/04/davis.jefferson.other.words/

As America celebrates its birthday on July 4, the timeless words of Thomas Jefferson will surely be invoked to remind us of our founding ideals -- that "All men are created equal" and are "endowed by their Creator" with the right to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." These phrases, a cherished part of our history, have rightly been called "American Scripture."

Professor Davis is a historian (author of Don’t Know Much About History), and as with most historical works, it tries to prove a point by showing part of the truth.  The US was not founded as a Christian Nation, but rather was created as a nation of Christians.  A major and fundamental difference, that is at the heart of the debate.  The Founders did not want the Federal gov't to have a religion...but they were OK with the States having one.  The Letter to the Danbury Baptists was Jefferson telling them that he would not intervene in helping them to overturn Connecticut’s requirement that its citizens be Congregationalists because that was not the Federal gov'ts purview.

But all of that is secondary to the fact that the goal of the Founders was to allow people to exercise their religion freely...not have it removed.  This inherent debate is at the heart of most of the debates that we see today.  Gay Marriage - a debate on if the gov't can mandate to a religion how it operates.  Welfare - is it private charity, or the gov't that should take care of people?  When the Founders create the US gov't, and the 10th Amendment still had power, freedom of religion was a given...the individual and the States could do what they wanted.  But as the Federal gov't has grown in size and scope...no longer is that true...now the Federal gov't's primacy in all things (as a result of the 14th Amendment) coupled with a 20th century drive towards a totalitarian gov't (meaning a gov't that is the totality) means that religion must be purged from life because all life is now part of the public square.  From cradle to grave the gov't will manage us...and since the gov't can't have religion (it would be threat to that cradle to grave notion after all) we cannot have religion.

So, no, the US is not, nor was it ever a Christian nation...it was a nation of Christians...but that has to be purged in the new way of things else the gov’t cannot be the supreme master of all things.