America a Christian Nation?

Our founders purposefully aligned our nation’s foundation with the cornerstone of a biblical framework

Are we really a “Christian nation,” or has that claim been recently overstated for political and religious reasons? Have our religious roots been buried by revisionists under the soil of secularism?

Today’s debate over the founding father’s intentions has ignited a firestorm of controversy, with some denying America’s Christian roots, while other argue in favor of a godly heritage.

So, who’s right? What do we mean when we say America was founded as a “Christian Nation?” It certainly doesn’t mean:

1. Every American citizen was required to be a Christian.
2. Every citizen was required to believe Christian theology.
3. America’s founding fathers were all committed Christians.
4. The founders intended for Christianity to be the State religion.

A more reasonable explanation is that:
5. The Bible and a Christian world view helped shape our country’s beginning.

Notwithstanding the influence of the Enlightenment, our nation’s founders recognized and affirmed biblical values. It is unthinkable to imagine men like Washington and Jefferson allowing, condoning, or celebrating such immoral practices such as homosexuality or slaughter of the unborn.

At the time of our country’s beginnings, Western Civilization, as a whole, was Christianized. America’s emerging was similarly marked by a common worldview which promoted Christian dignity, decency, and morality. This doesn’t mean all Americans were Christians, but rather that the guiding light of liberty was lit in the undeniable context of a God-consciousness, and that the canvas of Christianity was the backdrop on which the moral character of America was brush-stroked.

For example, The Declaration of Independence mentions God 5 times.

So precisely to which “God” were our country’s founders referring? Was it Allah? Perhaps Confucius? Or maybe Buddha? Osiris? Zeus? No. It was blaringly obvious to any common man then – peasant or privileged – or any rational person today, that the God and Creator to Whom the fathers appealed was the God of the Christian Bible. Arguments to the contrary have proven to be baseless and unfounded.

There were certainly non-Christians among the more than 143 signers of the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, even though virtually every one of them possessed some Christian church affiliation. And yet, even a non-believer in Jefferson’s day understood that the Biblical principles of Christianity were what would secure and stabilize this new republic, and protect the rights and freedom of its citizens.

Jefferson himself explained to a friend while walking to church one Sunday:

“No nation has ever existed or been governed without religion. Nor can be. The Christian religion is the best religion that has been given to man…”

Consider the perspectives of key government leaders around the time of America’s birth and infancy:

The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were. . . . the general principles of Christianity.” – John Adams, 2nd President.

Appointed by President James Madison, US Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story noted,

“One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law. . . . There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying at its foundations. . . . I believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society.”

President Andrew Jackson stated, “The Bible is the rock upon which our republic rests.”

Supreme Court Justice John McLean, appointed in 1829, wrote,

“Our mission of freedom is not carried out by brute force, by canon law, or any other law except the moral law and those Christian principles which are found in the Scriptures.”

George Washington – “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

Washington’s personal journals give us even deeper insight into his reverence for God. Space does not permit to catalogue an exhaustive list of quotes from Presidents, Justices, Statesmen, and other government leaders instrumental in the founding and formation of our country. These are not the blog posts of 21st century right-wing, agenda-driven, conservative pundits, but rather the unquestionable beliefs of men who were intricately involved in the founding and formation of our country.

Further, perhaps nowhere is this reality more documented than, of all places, Washington, D.C. Hung in galleries, carved out of stone, and sandblasted into buildings are perpetual reminders of who we once aspired to be as a nation. More than preserved ancient documents that fade or are forgotten over time, our country’s spiritual foundations are chiseled into stone in America’s Capital as a rock-solid testimony. There, we find engravings of Scripture and enduring references to our Judeo-Christian roots in:

The Capital Building, The Library of Congress, The National Archives, The Lincoln Memorial, The Jefferson Memorial, The Washington Monument, The Supreme Court, and The White House.

So, since her founding, the United States of America has unashamedly acknowledged the God of Heaven, though she has not always lived up to His standards, and has in recent history all but abandoned them. But trace the spirit of America, and you’ll find a strong awareness of God as she began her historical three century journey. In fact, America has enjoyed about as much of a biblical beginning as a country can have.

Our founders purposefully aligned our nation’s foundation with the cornerstone of a biblical framework, basic Christian morality and civil behavior. They recognized that Christianity alone provides the best principles upon which to found and govern a nation.

Unfortunately, today America hardly resembles her former self. This is why a trumpet call must be sounded for Christians to herald the only message that can save America, and Americans . . .
. . . the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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