Sunday, July 05, 2009

Is the United States a Christian Nation?

A portion of a photograph from page four of the U.S. Constitution
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John Brummett wrote another article about "is the U.S. a Christian nation?" His answer is an emphatic "no" and he demands honor for the rightness of his answer. Now when Brummett is right about something, its news. It is especially news when the subject is Christianity and Government, two subjects on which he demonstrates consistent ignorance.

In his latest, Brummett comes perilously close to being right and blowing a perfect record of obtuse cluelessness on the issue of God and Government. He may be no farther from the truth on it than some of his detractors who say we are a "Christian Nation". The root of that error is that our Founders were far more steeped in the knowledge of the scriptures and immersed more deeply in a Christian world-view than even most fundamentalist pastors today.

In the truest sense, you cannot have a "Christian Nation". Christianity is not strictly a religion, but a relationship with God based on faith and trust in Him. Right standing comes from His mercy rather than your own goodness. A Christian trusts what they understand His way to be rather than willfully insisting on their own way. A political structure can’t do that. Only individual people can have a personal relationship with a personal God. In that literal sense, our government is not a "Christian" government, nor can it be.

Many have tried to build an institution or government that is "Christian". Those institutions and governments invariably wind up being no closer or further from God than the hearts of the people who control them. The Founding Fathers were doubtless familiar with the words of Christ Himself on this issue. Luke 17:20 "Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’[d] For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

A sage once noted that Utopians dream in vain of "building a system so perfect that people will no longer have to be good". The God of the Bible is not so interested in building a top-down a governmental framework so perfect that no one will have to be good. His interest appears to be in individual hearts, that they might be so perfect that they don't need any outward government. He wants to build His Kingdom from the individual up. In the meantime, we must struggle as best we can to work out arrangements where we might peaceably and prosperously deal with one another.

While there cannot be, in the truest since of the word, a "Christian Nation", there most definitely can be a "Nation of Christians". And our nation was founded as such. Even though the signers of the Constitution were too wise to try to institutionalize Christianity into the highest rules of the government, they did record in that space where their hearts stood. On the final page of that document, just above where they affixed their own signatures, they testify that it was signed "In the year of our Lord one-thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven". They did not write into the text that this was to be a Christian nation, but they did write into the text that it was founded as a nation of Christians.

George Washington said that it was impossible to rightly govern a country without God and the Bible. History has proven him correct, free societies are mostly a Judeo-Christian by-product. The best governments in history have come from cultures that were steeped in Christianity. The loss in respect for our governments in recent times has coincided with the culture's drift away from Christianity.

John Adams noted "Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other." The Constitution was not meant to impose Christianity on the populace. The Constitution instead was meant by the Christian men who signed it to provide freedom from government coercion. They did this in the fervent hope that the population would continue to choose Christianity, and in the certain belief that should they ever fail to do so they would lose their freedoms to an ever more tyrannical government.

2 Comments:

Blogger Nick said...

Good Piece.

I must say that I am truly grateful that there is at least one another Christian who sees this in the same light that I do.

There is a bit of a historical note that should be considered here. It is commonly taught that the colonists came here for religious freedom. This is actually not the case. Most of them came for freedom to practice their own form of religion. Every colony was a sort of theocracy that did not tolerate believer's of a different stripe. it was not until the founding of Rhode Island that this part of the world had religious liberty.

Our founders, particularly the Virginia delegation who witnessed the brutality towards Baptists in their state sought to keep such persecution out of government. The sad fact is that When ever religion mixes with Government, you end up with persecution.

8:08 PM, July 05, 2009  
Blogger skyhi_gh90 said...

I believe all Nebraska residents should be able to view this clip about Senator Lincoln's position on health care. It explains weather she thinks all should have it or only some:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vq1m8-t71sU

9:36 AM, July 06, 2009  

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