There are many different opinions regarding the idea that the United States is a Christian nation. After reading the Church book, however, I believe it is obvious that our country was not in fact founded on Christianity. Even though many religious right groups insist our laws should enforce the doctrines of Protestant Christianity. The documents written by our founding fathers say otherwise. The U. S.
Constitution has no mention of Christianity or Jesus Christ, and is evidence within itself that our country was not founded as a Christian nation. The men who founded the legislature of our country had seen first hand the difficulties that church and state partnerships could create in Europe. The consequences of this partnership are the main reason a secular government was created in the United States. During the colonial period, alliances between religion and government produced oppression and tyranny on our own shores.
Many colonies, for example, had laws limiting public office positions to Trinitarian Protestants. While some colonies had officially established churches and taxed all citizens to support them. Dissenters faced many obstacles of persecution. Many people began looking for an end to religious testing. They argued that true faith did not need or want the support of the government. These protestors were not anti-religious.
In fact they believed that by allowing people their right to freedom from religion, they would eventually find themselves true Christians. Perhaps the most profound writing on the subject of church and state separation was The Landholder, No. 7, written by Oliver Ellsworth, who is also awarded for the creating the term "United States." In this document Ellsworth plainly states the meaning and affects of the omission of religious tests for office to the general public. When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence he spoke of "unalienable rights endowed by our Creator." He used generic language that all sects would be able to respond to. Therefore, respect for religious pluralism gradually became more acceptable.
Some founders, such as Patrick Henry argued in favor of tax support for Christian churches. But, that battle was lost when Jefferson and Madison helped pass the Virginia Statue for Religious Liberty in 1786 allowing religious freedom to all. This concept was carried over into the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. If a Christian nation had been the goal of the founders, our nation's documents wouldn't ensure religious freedom for everyone. Early presidential leaders understood that separation of church and state would be good for all faiths.
Thomas Jefferson rejoiced about the religious freedom law, noting that it would ensure religious freedom for "the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, the infidel of every denomination." Even in the Treaty with Tripoli the United States stated that "the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion... ." Today, many Americans say they have no religious identity themselves, even though most Americans profess their faith as Christian. However, it would be impossible to count all the distinct religious denominations that exist in the United States. The individual rights and diversity we enjoy cannot be maintained if the government promotes Christianity or if our government takes on the baggage of a 'faith-based's tate. Millions of people, around the world, still dwell under oppression where religion and government are strictly commingled. Many of those people look to the United States as an ideal model for what their country might one day become.
Thank God our founding fathers were Christian in nature. I personally was always on the fence about this debate. Now after reading the Church book, I believe the United States was built around a Christian religion, but not based on the religion itself. After reading the excerpts more carefully I now realize that the country was trying to be free of religion.
Just because the ideas of the founders of our nation were based on Christian thoughts, does not mean they wanted this to be a Christian country. I must admit, though, that unfortunately, the good nature and integrity of our founders is abused today. In current America, lawyers and religious gurus, snarl the words our leaders left us. The original thoughts and ideas are used either to protect one religious affirmation or to condemn the affirmation of non-popular religious sect. Even though the wall of separation was put into place, there is still a mingling of the two. The citizens of the United States are currently oppressed with the realization of taxation without representation.
Taxpayers are employing chaplains for certain sects of the government and the military. This appalls me as well as the thousands of other citizens who profess a faith other than that of the Protestant Christian. Unfortunately, I don't think there will ever be a true separation between church and state. And who knows, maybe that fact is what keeps our country united.