America is not Christian Nation

America a Christian Nation? Hardly!

In Christian RealTalk, Politics, Tough Questions by Antwuan Malone15 Comments

Is America a Christian Nation? Several years ago, this question popped in small group. That day, in an upper room of my church, answers spewed out and filled the room with passion and conviction.

“We most definitely are!” said a powerful, short-haired lady. “And the day we stop being a Christian nation is the day this county goes to Hell in a handbasket!” She went on to explain how Christians weren’t doing enough in the political arena, and how too many Christians are afraid to step up and make the difference “we were called to make” in this nation. As far as she was concerned, the American Christian was too fine with compromise.

As I sat there imagining what it must be like to arrive in  Hell in a gift-wrapped handbasket laced with black and red ribbon with little flames on them, I shuttered. I startled at the  realization that, while going to Hell was pretty bad, going to Hell in a handbasket, was worse. Much, much worse.

And then I began  thinking about this notion of America being a Christian nation, and decided that I, respectfully, disagreed with this upstanding woman in our church.

And I still do. America is not at all a Christian nation.  Not even a little.

One Nation Under Who?

The first of the 10 commandments (the one I believe Jesus does the least amount of tampering with in his own answers to questions about laws and such) is simple.  “You shall have no other gods before me.” The ten commandments are important because they are probably the most cited source of pre-American, biblical legislation by those who  disagree with my assessment of America’s Christian brand. It is, for them, a basis (one of many) from which our forefathers drew the constitution.

The importance of “putting no other god before” God cannot be overstated. In fact, the first three commandments communicate the value God should have in our lives. It’s beyond safe to say we do not at all subscribe to this command as a nation. We are a country governed “by the people, for the people.” And as such, we are given the right to follow after any god(s) we  choose, as long as we do not disrupt the laws of the land. For me, this is the precursor to every one of my “Christian nation” arguments. If God is not first, if we have not chosen to legislate the love of God with our heart soul, mind, and strength, then we are not at all a Christian nation by it’s truest definition. Not even close.

Christians, as I would define them, are those who have decided to follow Jesus Christ’s lead in going all out to love God and Man; the former being the most pertinent for our conversation. Jesus rephrased this commandment the day he was asked to reveal the  greatest law. His answer, loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, is meant to be the  primary starting point for Christians.

Not only is this  type of love for God  absent in our constitutional make-up,  it’s  absent in the modern day American society. We are capitalists. We are tolerant. We are a country allowing any god, any opinion, any lifestyle.  As such, America cannot be characterized as a religious nation of any type.

But that’s the way it should be.

God created us with freedom and freewill because mature love must be chosen. Mature love is not forced or coerced, and is not the product of crammed in rhetoric or religious legislation  We have to willfully surrender to love, to choose to let it overtake the inborn, inner momentum to protect and love ourselves above all else.  Only then, can we love God the way Jesus intended… with our heart, soul, mind and strength.

So is America a Christian nation? Absolutely not.  And frankly, I think God likes that way. After all, he’s already got a kingdom in the works…

Do you believe America is a Christian Nation?  Why or why not?

The following two tabs change content below.
Antwuan Malone is a Ministry Director at ELEVATE Young Adult Ministry (elevateministry.net) where empowers young adults toward Christian leadership. He is passionate about seeing young adults take their place in church history by drawing near enough to God to hear his call on their life, and courageously living in obedience to that call.
15 comments
Curtis
Curtis

where did you get the image (art) for this and what can i do to use it?? 

Sara
Sara

Great post! I had to read it, because I remember my Divinity School dean saying, "America is not a Christian nation; it's a nation with Christians in it." Then he went on to point out that there are people of other faith groups here, as well as people who ascribe to no faith of preference. In fact, it was one of our Baptist forefathers who laid the groundwork in the colonies for the separation of church and state (Roger Williams) and another Baptist (John Leland) who encouraged the writers of the Constitution to include this belief in that document. Too many people equate "Christianity" with "patriotism," asserting that all patriots are Christians and all Christians are patriots. As such, we fly Old Glory in our churches (a practice with which I disagree) and I even saw a rural church yesterday that had "God and Country" under the name of their church. We need to break out of this mindset. I know some Christians who are lukewarm patriots, and some patriots who are Agnostic.

Ray A.
Ray A.

Good thoughts Antwuan. Every person who thinks we are a christian nation would do well to read the Treaty of Tripoli where John Adams, the second president of the united states, wrote this: "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion... " Yes we have morals that are found in the bible, but it was unquestioned in the founding of this nation that we are not christian but rather secular. thats why we have no mention of Christ in the declaration, constitution or bill of rights. in fact only a minority of the founders (as opposed to settlers) were christian, yes most of the founders believed in God but they would stop WELL short of calling Christ "Lord". but as you point out, ultimately this freedom of religion is a good thing. blessings, – Ray

sosnovsken
sosnovsken

Even though I think we have some disagreements about your last post (I realize I still need to reply to your reply), I wholeheartedly agree with this post. Some food for thought.... if we were a "chrisitan nation," would that not mean we have been misrepresenting Christ to the other nations with our willingness to consume while others have nothing? No, it is better that we remain a republic that is founded on the values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I think people would be a lot less happy in an America founded on a, "blessed are the poor" model. Just my thoughts :)

Tdksterling
Tdksterling

We are a "Christian Nation" because we are based on Christian beliefs. Unfortunately, "Christian Nation" seems to be a definition of if we follow people's perception of the Christian rules and judgements..it is not about if we are a nation of God followers. Are we a nation of Christians? Yes...are we a nation of God followers? No. I wish they were the same but I don't think that they are.