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Switch to Forum Live View USA is a Christian Country
5 years ago  ::  Dec 27, 2009 - 11:53PM #1
habesor
Posts: 5,802

This subject has come up, usually off topic, on other threads. I thought it appropriate to deserve a thread of its own. Here is my opinion:


Despite the fact that the USA constitution mandates  a separation of church and state, it seems to me that in many ways the USA can be described as a Christian country. This is a consequence of two factors. First the majority of the American population are Christians either in name or in faith. Second, much of the motivation to settle the new lands across the ocean from Europe were religious in nature.


Starting with the historical factors, many of the first colonies were established by Christian religious sects who were escaping persecution from the dominant sect in their home country. Most often they set up colonies in the new world restricted to their own sect. In fact it wasn't until the smallest of the colonies was established, Rhode Island, that a colony allowed religious freedom for all faiths. The above refers to the colonies which were set up by Great Britain. There are also large areas of the USA which had been populated under Spanish rule. Again the influence of the Catholic Church in motivating the establishment of these colonies was rather profound.


The political impact of the Christian foundations moderated over the years since the USA was founded but in certain respects it remains. Though the the USA constitution called for separation of church and state at the federal level, individual states continued to support the Christian religion or religions in general through restricting voting rights to Christians or writing the tax laws to excuse religious institutions from paying their share. All of the religious qualifications were removed over time but many of the tax benefits to religious institutions remain in place. There were also state and local laws prohibiting business operations on the Christian sabbath. 


I could have titled this thread the USA as a White Christian country as many legal restrictions, including voting disqualifications based in law or in practice against black Americans were in place until the late 20th century. In 2008 the first black American was elected president. To date no non-Christian has been elected president.


As for the factor that the great majority of the population is Christian, one need only take a stroll through the commercial districts at Christmas time, listen to the music on the radio or take a look at labor practices during the Christmas holidays, to see the impact of the Christian religion on various aspects of American culture. 


Habesor


 

Habesor
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5 years ago  ::  Dec 28, 2009 - 12:15AM #2
mountain_man
Posts: 40,576

Dec 27, 2009 -- 11:53PM, habesor wrote:

This subject has come up, usually off topic, on other threads. I thought it appropriate to deserve a thread of its own. Here is my opinion:


Despite the fact that the USA constitution mandates  a separation of church and state, it seems to me that in many ways the USA can be described as a Christian country. ..



The USA has a secular government and a declining number of christians as a majority in the population.


From ARIS: "The American population self-identifies as predominantly Christian but Americans are slowly becoming less Christian. 86% of American adults identified as Christians in 1990 and 76% in 2008."


The decline has been going on for decades. It will no doubt rise as the economy worsens, but then upon recover; the decline of the dominance of the christian religion will continue.



Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

I am a Humanist. I believe in a rational philosophy of life, informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by a desire to do good for its own sake and not by an expectation of a reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife.
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5 years ago  ::  Dec 28, 2009 - 12:27AM #3
Mlyons619
Posts: 16,573

This thread is being moved to the CHURCH AND STATE forum.


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5 years ago  ::  Dec 28, 2009 - 3:17AM #4
habesor
Posts: 5,802

Mountainman,


Are you saying that America is or isn't a Christian country? 


Habesor

Habesor
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5 years ago  ::  Dec 28, 2009 - 12:46PM #5
Agnosticspirit
Posts: 9,244

The United States is NOT a Christian country, despite the "beliefs"  of historical revisionists aka  the Christian Right. Many of the fine men who drafted our Constitution weren't Christians at all, but diests.... of the Christian fellas who made up our Founding Fathers, they were much more tepid types than the rightwing rabble that seeks to usurp Christianity at present.


The US remains a pluralistic society without a state religion, but we do have a lot of Christians --- who are learning to adapt to the fact that many citizens are REVERTING to the default state of non-theism.


It's rather ironic that, although we do NOT recognize a state religion, in many ways our politicians are more overtly religious than some of the northern European countries that DO have a state religion but where religion has less of an impact on politics. 


BTW, that Christmas is celebrated isn't  a symptom that the US is a Christian country... Many who observe this holiday observe the secular, Hallmark card, Santa Claus, Charles Dickens type of Christmas... Even atheists... Smile

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5 years ago  ::  Dec 28, 2009 - 10:18PM #6
rgr075
Posts: 57

HR 888 was passed in 2007 to basically say that we are a Christian nation.  It was initiated as part of a religious history week.


There is no doubt that Christianity is a predominant religion in the world, and that many of our founding fathers were Christians.  But the constitution is pretty clear about the separation of church and state.


So I would say that we are a secular nation founded by predominantly Christian people.


Btw, I used to live in Lynchburg Virginia, which is where Thomas Jefferson's summer home is - near Poplar Forest.  He is credited as being the author of the constitution, and his particular views of Christianity are very negative.  He's a deist in only the loosest sense because at the time there were no other explanations.  Had Jefferson been exposed to the scientific data we have today (Darwin's evolution, cosmology, etc) he would be an atheist.  (That last part is, of course, my speculation.)

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5 years ago  ::  Dec 29, 2009 - 11:27AM #7
Hatman
Posts: 9,634

IIRC, it is not the Constitution that has the "wall of separation between church and State" terminology, but 'twas Jefferson who wrote a letter to some Baptist church pastor long after the ratification of the Constitution, where this idea first took root.  AFAIK, there are only 2 mentions of the words "religion" or "religious" in the entire body of the Constitution for the united States and amendments, the first being in Article 6, paragraph 3, which states that no religious test shall be administered as a qualifying criterion to hold office, and the second being in the First Amendment, which is also a declaratory and restrictive clause forbidding Congress from making any law concerning the establishment of a religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.  This does not and cannot mean that government employees must be atheists, either.


I agree that most of the F&F could be classified as Deists,not christians in the classical sense, but the fact remains that they all recognized the natural law and acknowledged either a Creator or Divine Providence; the proper and right progression of Power is as follows:


God, being the Source and Creator of all that is, visible and invisible, delegates a portion of His Supreme power to mankind at birth.  Men delegate a portion of these God-given Rights, retaining some, to governments to help ensure that said government will SECURE these rights for all, doing all they as voters can do to discriminate in elections between those who will take their oaths of office (as regards the protection of these Rights) seriously, and those whose loyalties lie elsewhere(like lining their pockets).  Local governments delegate a portion of their delegated, conditionally exercised powers to create city or county governments; these, in turn, delegate a portion of that conditionally delegated power to States or Commonwealths, which in their turn do the same for a national government---each delegation of power, originally, was weaker with each retention of the original powers delegated---and delegated power is entrusted power, conditionally entrusted.


Now, however, a goodly portion of the elected representatives and appointed judiciary have sought to dictate the "privileges" that citizens are "allowed" to enjoy, instead of being the servant-guardians of these Rights, tyrannically ordering the States to do such and such, which delegate their orders to county and city governments, which dictate their orders to local governments, which dictate to the People what they shall obey, in a total reversal of the purposes for which trust was placed in them to safeguard our Rights initially.  This, btw, is the MEANING of the words "inalienable" and "unalienable," meaning that no one---no government, no tyrant, no dictator---can EVER remove these Rights save for capital and criminal offenses against the common law, which in essence states that unless and until a living man, woman, or child is injured in their life, liberty, or property, there is no crime!


This state of affairs we find ourselves in today did not happen by accident.


""Give me control over a nation's money supply, and I care not what laws are made."~Rothschild, head of a private banking concern that had corrupted and controlled the vast majority of the governments of Europe, and his descendants, both physical and spiritual, have "deceived the whole world" today.


The F&F were quite aware of their schemes, one evidence of which can be readily observed by a quick reading of my signature line, but Franklin, Washington, and Jefferson, among others, were hip to and on-guard against such torturous tricks, warning us repeatedly of the dangers accompanying unfunded paper, fiat currencies that, according to Rousseau, "...always return to their intrinsic value---zero."  It would be fair to assume that these 4 were articulate enough to communicate their discoveries about bankers being enemies to the Constitution to communicate the same, regularly and often, to their collegues and anyone else who would listen---and it's certain that they left writings warning their posterity of these "cleverly contrived plots."


These Banksters create "money" out of paper, set it's face value, and demand repayment in full at interest, first indebting, then bankrupting, then controlling any government that falls to their ill-will---then uses the auspices of those governments to debt-enslave the entirety of the populace...and the vast majority remain ignorant of their slave-status, the best kind of slaves to have.  Can't have a rebellion if you don't know who or what you're rebelling against(or why), can ya?  Hence the dumbing-down of Americans, also a deliberate ploy.  Stupid or misdirected and miseducated people don't know what questions to ask, and if they don't know about these things, those who have enslaved them won't have to worry about uncomfortable questions---or their answers.  In addition, since religious disciplines have often centered around principles similar to "you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free," it was in the interest of these corrupters of mankind to control religious practices somewhat, too, especially as they impinge upon political questions or candidates---hence the 501c3 entrapments which have made apostates of a lot of pretenders to the practice of discipleship to Christ, for certain.  This also explains their often-successful plans to corrupt the youth, making it seem "cool" to pollute and poison their own bodies in pursuit of "partying" and "having a good time," making tidy profits from the whole business.


So while it is certainly true that neither the US government nor any local government can be said to be "Christian," it is equally as true that neither can they be rightfully be called "atheist," either.  i hold, with Thomas Paine, that the only business any government employee has to do with religion is to protect the Rights of sincere practicioners thereof, and nothing else.


With goodwill to all the People-


Hatman


 

"History records that the moneychangers have used every form of abuse, deceit, intrigue, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and it's issuance."
-- James Madison(1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President
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5 years ago  ::  Dec 30, 2009 - 1:18AM #8
Gwyddion9
Posts: 320

I don't believe in the thought of the U.S. being a 'Christian Country' as this would imply that there is a state religion and that is Christian (which ever sect that might be as i'm sure they'll be fighting over this). I acknowledge that most citizens profess to be Christian in all its variations but we are a secular nation made up of many peoples and religions. It amazes me that some groups, the RR, as an example, are seeking to redefine the U.S. as a Christian nation. When people came to the new world, for many it was to seek religious freedom and yet, some people want to create a country that our ancestors tried to get away from in the first place. 


Another issue that would come up next would be, which sect of Christianity is going to be the 'state religion' simply because many Christian sects do not recognize the other for various reasons. This whole thought about being a Christian nation is going to cause nothing but issues and imo, we have far greater issues to deal with than one group trying to assert its religiousity over everyone else. I'm of the opinion that those who want to create a 'Christian Nation' will only cause more division as it appears that Christian only reflects their version and I, personally, don't want any part of it.

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 02, 2010 - 7:33PM #9
K1rk
Posts: 1

Dec 27, 2009 -- 11:53PM, habesor wrote:


As for the factor that the great majority of the population is Christian, one need only take a stroll through the commercial districts at Christmas time, listen to the music on the radio or take a look at labor practices during the Christmas holidays, to see the impact of the Christian religion on various aspects of American culture. 


Habesor


 




If you could make this claim about Easter, you might have a point. Only Easter, without the bunny, has scripture to set it on the calendar and specify the sacraments surrounding it. Christmas is weak religious concept and it was banned in some of the colonies. Christmas and Halloween and sports are all aspects of the civil religion in the USA.


That's why religion and its many churches have no place in the government  - religion is never the same from minute to minute.

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2010 - 9:52AM #10
sydneymoon
Posts: 3,680

I save all of my theological questions for my church. Thanks, but no thanks, I don't look toward the government for spiritual advice. Why would I want to wrap Jesus up in the American flag. Sounds like blasphemy, no?


I am currently reading Chris hedge’s book, American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. This is exactly what the Christian Reich wants, although I agree that no one would be able to decide on which denomination. This same mindset cannot oblige any diverse viewpoints regarding religion or secular humanist philosophies. I don't think we have to purge all reminders of our Christian culture, but to deem it our state religion would invite oppression.


AND....


The odd thing is the separation of church and state already acknowledges our freedom to participate or not to participate in any religion. A state religion is not about cementing our status as a "moral" nation, it's all about control.


 


 

Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
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