Let’s get this straight: America is not a Christian Nation.

The Holy BibleI’ve noticed that two topics seem to get more responses than anything else: Ron Paul and religion. I’m not ready for Part 2 of my RP tirade, so we’ll go back to the latter.

It seems that whenever I write anything even moderately anti-religion, or even not at all anti-religion but rather anti-you-acting-like-a-jerk-about-your-religion, I get comments and email that either say I’m a terrible person and that someone is praying for me, or I should leave America because America is a Christian nation. How terrible I am is pretty debatable and I can’t really say these people aren’t praying for me (though I suspect they aren’t), but I can say with absolute certainty that America is not a Christian nation.

Oh sure, it’s citizenry is predominantly Christian and I can count on one hand the number of non-Judeo-Christians in Washington, but that just means that the American people are Christian. That’s obvious. America itself, however, is not. People have later attempted to turn it into one, I’ll agree, but the United States of America is not founded on the Christian religion.

Myth: How can you say that? It totally is!

Fact: No, it’s not. Washington said it himself in the Treaty of Tripoli, which was ratified by the Senate under then-president John Adams: “the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.” Unless you think this was a trick or a lie, in which case I’m not sure what to tell you.

Myth: Right, but, what about the pledge? It says “one nation under God”!

Fact: It didn’t always. In fact it wasn’t until the 1950s that the Knights of Columbus decided that “under God” should be a part of the pledge, and it wasn’t until 1954 that the words were officially changed to include them. For the first 62 years of its existence, there was no God in the pledge.

Myth: Okay, fine, but our money DEFINITELY says “in god we trust”. It’s the national motto, you can’t deny that!

Fact: I can’t deny that it’s on our coins and bills or that it’s the current national motto, but again this wasn’t always the case. The phrase didn’t start appearing on money until the Civil War, and it wasn’t until the 1930s that the phrase was on money nationally. As for our motto, up until 1956 it was e pluribus unum: from many, one. Interesting that it was changed from a declaration of unity to one of separation.

Myth: Well look on your calendar. I don’t see Darwin’s birthday or Ramadan as federal holidays. Christmas and Easter are, though!

Fact: Once again, it is now but it didn’t used to be. Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday until 1870. For the first nearly 100 years of the republic the birth and resurrection of Jesus were not considered federal holidays. Interestingly enough, prior to that, many Christians criticized it as the Bible never instructs followers to celebrate Christ’s birth and found the holiday too commercialized. So I suppose you could say that’s why it wasn’t designated a holiday initially, but that’s pushing it.

Myth: Yeah, yeah, but the important thing is our LAWS. They’re based on Christian laws like the 10 Commandments!

Fact: I have a feeling that most people who make this claim have not read either the Constitution or the Bible. Exodus 20:2-17 from whence the commandments come, numbering roughly 14 but varyingly grouped together to make it the more attractive 10, outlines a whole lot of things, but few are actually in American lawbooks. We have no laws against worshiping other gods, against graven images, mandating keeping the Sabbath holy, against coveting, legislating honoring your mother and father, or against adultery. In the whole list, we only have laws about murdering, stealing, and bearing false witness, none of which are exactly unique to the Decalogue.

Myth: But God’s in the Constitution!

Fact: Again, read the thing. No he’s not. The only mentioning of any deity is “their creator” in the Declaration which was intentionally worded so as to refer to the ambiguous cause of our being rather than “God” (basically saying “we’re born with them”), and “nature’s god” in the Constitution in a rather throwaway passage. Aside from that, God is not anywhere to be found. So if his laws aren’t used and he’s never mentioned by name, I think the conclusion is obvious.

Myth: No, I mean the founders were Christians, so whatever they wrote was inspired by God!

Fact: This is a big ol’ can of worms, but no matter how you slice it the majority of the men who founded this nation were at least deists, if not agnostics and a few atheists. Washington may have gone to church periodically, but he wasn’t exactly devout and hardly talked of his beliefs. Jefferson was particularly harsh against Christianity, as were others such as Adams and Franklin. Additionally they took much of their inspiration from secularists philosophers, not the devout.

Myth: That’s BS left-wing propaganda! They WERE Christians!

Fact: You know what? Let’s say you’re right. Every one was a Christian. That doesn’t negate their obvious efforts to keep Christianity out of the nation’s formation. God is not mentioned and the laws are not built around Christian principles. There are laws which coincide with those of Christianity, but generally only in cases where they also coincide with every other major religion (they all have anti-murder and anti-theft laws, for example). The founding fathers went out of their way to keep America secular, allowing all to practice as they want with neither the government interfering in worship or worship interfering in government.

Myth: Shut up, the 1st Amendment was to keep government out of church, not church out of government!

Fact: That’s semantical flim-flam at best and you know it. Keeping the government out of the church is the same as keeping the church out of government.

Myth: Nuh-uh!

Fact: Yuh-huh. Let’s say Church A has a law that Church B does not. The government cannot enact Church A’s law because that would be encroaching upon Church B’s freedom of worship. Thus in order to protect Church B, Church A’s law cannot be put on the books. The only way to keep the government out of religion is to keep religion out of government. It’s a wall between them, as Jefferson wrote, not a one-way tunnel.

Myth: But that would mean that no laws could be made that disagree with any religion, so we’d have no laws at all!

Fact: Not quite. It means the laws must be made independently of religion. You don’t have to be a Bible-thumper to know murder and slavery are wrong, for example (although it was largely the religious who fought against civil rights advancements…), and as long as a law is made for secular reasons it is not “an establishment of religion”. That’s why sodomy laws had to go but perjury’s still around, or why there are laws against stealing but not saying God’s name in vain.

Myth: Right… but… hgnkgnl…

Fact: I thought so.

So you see, this is not a country founded upon the Bible and its teachings, and the nation’s founders would likely be mighty peeved to hear of George Bush saying God chose him to be president and hearing of the massive influence the likes of James Dobson have over public policy.

If anyone out there would like to continue trying to prove me wrong, go for it. I’ve got no problems making this little Q&A session longer.

70 responses to “Let’s get this straight: America is not a Christian Nation.

  1. Christianity does not have a monopoly on God. I am a Deist. I enjoyed your post.

  2. I’ve found that moderate Jews, Christians and Muslims are all respectable towards Deism. Jews and Muslims seem a lot more open to philosophical discussions about God or as I like to call it, the clockmaker. Hell, I’m a Deist who even considers Jesus somewhat of a savior. I actually listened to what the guy was sayin’. I don’t worship him or think that he died for my sins though. I keep my “sins” minimal by nature and am really not afraid to answer to the clockmaker about any of them if that type of thing happens when all this is over. If heaven is really heaven then I should be able to smoke some really good herb there, hopefully with George Washington, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. What a frickin’ session that would be.

  3. Goddammit, Hanlon, you frikkin’ ROCK.

    LOVED it.

    Where’s arg? (I wonder if that’s short for “argumentative”?)

  4. When I’m asked, and if I’m in a mood to respond, I tell people that I believe in the religion OF Jesus Christ, not the one ABOUT him.

  5. “I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.”
    – Mahatma Ghandi

    The both of you made comments that remind me of that quote.

  6. Jefferson himself (yes, the same Jefferson who coined the term “separation of church and state” in an 1802 address to the Danbury Baptists) compiled his own Bible (called, strangely enough, The Jefferson Bible) because he felt that the standard Christian bible of the day was altered and polluted by various interpretations and translations, but mostly by the Gospel writers themselves. He said, “the true words of Jesus were as obvious as diamonds in a dunghill” – so he cut-and-pasted up his own Bible.

    He felt that the ethics of Jesus were of import – not the Christian mythology.

    http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danpre.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_Bible

    http://weibel-lines.typepad.com/weibelines/2006/01/diamonds_in_a_d.html

  7. There is no denying that the Christian faith, and the idea of deism played some role in the writing of the constitution, or at least it can be skewed that way. However, as you say, it is also clear that the founders did not want the US to be a Christian nation–hence the separation of church and state clause–and the fact that the Christian god was not mentioned as the absolute moral authority in the US anywhere in the Bill of Rights or the Constitution.
    It is true that more and more people in power are trying to make this a Christian nation, but that notion is ridiculous as there are several types of Christians. So if this was a Christian nation, which form of Christianity would we practice anyway?

  8. Another great post. I blame the United States’ attitude towards the Soviet Union in the Cold War for some of the religion-state fusion over these past decades. That’s when under god was inserted into our pledge. And then there are right-wing politicians (Bush) who win elections by appealing to people’s religious bigotry and emotion rather than political logic. “VOTE FOR ME AND I’LL MAKE SURE GAY PEOPLE CAN’T GET MARRIED!”

  9. I am a Christian.

    Of what type?

    Perhaps a thoughtful one that realizes there is still more to think about and some of the things you have written have caused me to think.

    I haven’t researched much of what you have written in this blog (honestly, I don’t plan to). I do think that too many overstate too much about people they know too little about (myself included). It is possible that people on both sides of the fence have been known to do this.

    So how is a nation defined?
    By its history?
    By its laws?
    By its culture?
    By its language?
    By its borders?
    By its people?

    If a nation is defined by its history, then your assertion that it is not Christian has only proved that at its inception its Christian moorings could be questioned. But part of that history also includes all of the past that brings us up to teh present. This involves a shift or transition towards some level of Christianity that has become something of the majority (as admitted by you).

    If a nation is defined by its people, then your admission at the very beginning about the nation being “predominantly Christian” and “that just means that the American people are Christian” hobble your arguments that followed.

    But I am not going to try to prove that America is a Christian nation. What is the point?

    Maybe it could be better stated that, “America claims to be a ‘Christian’ nation.” This confirms your point in quoting Ghandi, even though I think he only liked the side of Christ that was consistent with his passivist worldview (most of us only focus on attributes of Christ that fit into arguments that we are trying make).

    He was more than meek and mild.

    Christ wasn’t always passive. Ironically, his aggression was usually directed at the religious leaders of his day that were claiming to be something they weren’t (much like those who claim to be Christian and act like it only on Sunday).

    Christian nation?

    Perhaps.

    It depends how you look at it. But in which ever way you slice and dice it, we are still left with the following reality:

    It is a Christian nation that claims it but most often doesn’t act like it.

    Or think like it.

  10. Honestly, I don’t care whether or not it started as a Christian nation. Just like brdinus, I don’t plan on researching it either. It doesn’t make Christianity any more right or real by proving or disproving this. So, what’s the point of this article? I wouldn’t mind some links or something.

    Sorry Hanlon, I don’t really see the point of this article. I think you’re good at stirring up a hornet’s nest, I mean this is what most of your comments seem to come from. So, if you want more readers, just keep bashing Christians/Christianity. It’s not gonna change us. (I’m ready for a “ooOoo, now that scares me” comment from one of you.)

    Where was arg? at church, praying….(i’m ready for another, “ooOo now that scares me” comment from one of you.) BOO! lol..

  11. Conversely you can find religion entangled with British constitutional life in many areas. The Queen is ‘defender of the faith’, religions have representation in the House of Lords, there are state funded faith schools etc. But then the British constitution, not that we have a written one anyway, is a Heath Robinson construction at best.

    But despite this, religion has much less influence on political life over here, if any at all. Why? People don’t want it too. Leaders of political parties know if they talk openly of their faith, it will turn voters off in droves. Perhaps that’s because we’re a Godless bunch over here, and perhaps the debate you’re having will continue until you are too.

    Regards.

    TBB

  12. Wow. I have to say that I’m stunned at some of the comments… although I guess I really shouldn’t be. The people who identify themselves as “Christians” here prove the whole point, don’t they? They haven’t researched the facts… and don’t plan to. Well, that’s the spirit! If you ignore it, then it doesn’t exist.

    For those who have chosen to believe, no evidence is necessary. For those who have chosen NOT to believe, no evidence is sufficient.

    The whole debate is, however, an exercise in futility. The truth is the truth… and the fact that some people don’t want to believe it is almost irrelevant. I say “almost” – except for the fact that there are far too many people in this country who would like to turn our land into a theocracy rather than a democracy. (And I’m not accusing anyone here of that… just be aware that the “values” you are espousing as the only truth and the concept that this was INTENDED to be a Christian nation are the beginning stages of such a thing.)

    And I think our own recent history has shown us the error of living in a land governed by religion, hasn’t it? Are we heading for our own jihad here? One form of religious extremism is the same as another – Christian or Muslim, what’s the difference?

    The whole point of creating a government that contained no estalishment of religion was to protect us all from those who would enslave us – physcally, emotionally or religiously. A theocracy takes away freedom of thought and deed… and I think our founding fathers were a pretty smart group of guys for wanting no part of that!

  13. Oh, hey, arg? I believe PaulM gave you some links above…

  14. Rev – I don’t think arg wants to be confused by the facts.

  15. TheReverend,
    My point was not that I don’t care about the facts, rather that the facts presented would only prove the history of the nation but say nothing of its present state.

    The posed by Hanlon wasn’t proved by the words that followed.

    He used past possibilities to argue present reality. The facts that were presented could only go so far as support the claim that America WAS not a Christian nation.

    He has written down no facts to support the claim that America IS or IS NOT a Christian nation.

    If hanlon had provided facts to prove such a case I would have agreed with him, but for very different reasons.

  16. Again, it all depends on how you unpack what you mean by “nation.”

  17. All you religious people are idiots; there is not enough shame in the world to accuretly reflect how stupid your ideologies are.

    If you’re religious, you’ve given up on intelligent thought, and life; in my humble opinion. I will never take any of you seriously, and will continue to berate your brethern and mock your preachers.

    Symantics and History aside, America is a terrible place to live because of all the morons. Smarten up and fix your economy, you retards.

  18. brdinus, arg, TBB, The Reverend,

    Of the first part, brdinus does a magnificent job of stating, what does all of this mean, especially without parameters or boundaries. Moreover, my feeling is that he does an extraordinary service in his attempt to right something that is so out-of-place. Bbrraavvooo! Bravo!

    TBB, I believe you owe it to this site, or the readers thereof to share so much more of your insight and knowledge; further, if you click on my name it’ll take you over to my blog where, among other things, I present the opposite point of view. Cheers.

    The Reverend, splendid indeed! A very lovely piece of rhetoric, rather a really great expose on reality. I appreciate your explanation vis-a-vie the 1st Amendment and I would like to add that if people were to say, “The Church” much the same way as Catholics say “The CHURCH” then I believe that there would be far more understanding.

    For anyone who care to indulge: I found that, “Jefferson and Civil Liberties: The Darker Side” to be a magnificent read dealing with what was felt, espoused, and actually written during that time period. Oops almost forgot, Pulitzer Prize in History winner, Leonard W. Levy wrote it. Cheers everyone!

    OMC

  19. Well, though I’m a Christian, for the most part I agree with your statements. Our country was specifically set up so that the government could not force a particular religion on it’s people. This was as much to protect Christians as any other group from government interference with their lives.

    However, I’ve recently done some reading of a collection of documents dating from the revolutionary period. These documents were essays, diary entries, personal and professional letters and the like. God and Jesus are mentioned EVERYWHERE. I would say much less in public documents, but personal diaries and the like are flooded with references to God and Christ. This honestly surprised even me. So I have to take issue with your statement that our leaders were agnostic or athiests.

  20. An excellent, well thought-out post. I enjoyed it greatly. One minor point: Some areas of the US did or still do have laws regarding adultery, though they aren’t enforced.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adultery#Penalties_for_adultery

  21. http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul148.html

    “The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian yet religiously tolerant America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance” – Ron Paul

    ARE YOU SAYING RON PAUL IS WRONG!?

  22. The point of this post, I think, was to state that yes, while the people of America may be predominantly Christian, now and when we were founded, that does not mean Christianity is our official religion. In fact, I would argue that the U.S. does not, and should not, have an official religion, no matter how strongly those in power push for it.
    To Dana’s point, in their political practices the founding fathers were more agnostic, regardless of their personal lives. And that’s the point: believe whatever you want to believe, but keep it out of the government and other public institutions.

  23. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Also absolutely correct. A nation of Christians is not a Christian nation. To suggest such is like Alice telling the Mad Hatter that “I mean what I say” and “I say what I mean” are the same.

    Maybe some have slid that far down the rabbit hole, but most of us haven’t. I am Christian, and I resent the wholesale hijacking of my faith by fanatics and heretics. I suppose one could argue that the same thing has happened to Christianity as has happened to Islam, for many of the same reasons and at just about the same time.

    The founding fathers created an intentionally secular government to rule over a predominantly religious people. I say “intentionally” because they had already seen the pitfalls that an official state religion creates. Persecutions, political marginalization, pogroms, etc. We’ve strayed too far from the original intent. It’s time we turned around and, to borrow a phrase from the right, “took our country back.”

    Before it’s too late.

  24. Brilliant.

    The Bad Bohemian, I do wonder whether any change in religious demographics would necessarily drive out the loonies. The folks who are actively pushing for a “Christian” nation are a small but vocal minority. (The scary group are the much larger portion of America that passively agrees).

    brdinus, that is an interesting point on the distinction between was and is. Especially if you look at it as laws pushing us closer to a Christian nation were passed, we appear to be trending that way. If we were there already, the froth would be a little less pronounced on the right.
    So I don’t think we’re there yet. The question then becomes, well, should we be? And I think we have every reason to loudly shout “no!”.

  25. As a Christian pastor, I must say, thanks. I am glad people are pointing this stuff out. I think this garbage about America or any other nation being “christian” only hurts both the nation and the Church.

    I wish more Christians would not only look at the history of America, but also the history of the Church to see how dangerous any kind of fusion of religion and government can be.

    Once again, thanks.

  26. So Ok, here’s an other comment, I liked it, too. I am here in the US since a couple of months, and I just see people acting like they were Christian people cause most of the people expect them to do so. But actually they are just dumbasses and assholes and many many other things. Most of the people just pretend to be Christian people, but they actually lie, so… yeah. Be proud of urselves, u should be. America sucks.
    The Bible contradicts itself. How come there be people who are gay, if everybody’s the creation of God, and how come he does not like gay people and send them to Hell just because they like their own sex?! Nonsense.
    “Everybody lies, but no one pays attention to it!”

  27. This makes an interesting reading. Almighty America is always petending to be a christian nation. America is not following after Christ in any way.

    Americans claim to be christians yet they are not following the teachings or the footsteps of Christ.

    Jesus says that his followers would be known by how much they love themselves and their neighbors. Are Americans in love with themselves and their neighbors in Iraq, Vietnam, etc?

    True christians should rise up in love to renew the face of the earth.

  28. The Treaty of Tripoli only included that one line about America not being Christian to humor the Muslims. It doesn’t prove we’re not a nation based on Christian belief, not by a long shot.

    You would have to ignore volumes of documentation to the contrary. Your other points seem to be sidestepping the real question.

    The question that wants answering is, is America a Christian nation? The question you are answering is, does America enshrine Christianity as a state religion?

    The second question’s answer is a resounding no. Our country has always allowed religious freedom. That should be obvious. And it’s a good thing, based on Europe’s experience.

    The answer to the first question is yes, in every substantial way, especially the concept of individual freedom, this country is founded on Christian concepts, designed for everyone, including non-Christians. It’s right there in the Declaration of Independence.

    “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

    Got that? The GOVERNMENT is formed to secure THESE RIGHTS which come from the CREATOR. That’s not vague and that’s not Atheist talk, folks. And far from being a “throwaway passage,” it’s the introduction, the basis for the whole document that follows. I think the conclusion is rather obvious, as you say.

    The idea that Deism is somehow related to Atheism is one of the great myths of our day. First, Deism itself was never a formal movement, but only a general set of beliefs that grew out of the Enlightenment. In fact, at the time of the Founding Fathers, “deist” was often considered a slander. Yes, Jefferson and other Founding Fathers believed in a “God of reason.” But this did not make them non-Christian, it merely meant they were well-educated. Jefferson in particular was not keen on the traditions and laws of churches, and he thought he could separate what he considered truths about Jesus’ life from what he saw as mythologization, creating a collection of Jesus’ moral teachings (the “Jefferson Bible”). Jefferson wrote in a letter to Adams, that the teachings of Jesus were “the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man.” Hardly a non-Christian viewpoint.

    The issue for him and his fellow “Deists” was one of reason vs. revelation. Jefferson believed in a God whose nature could be known by human reason and science, not one who could only be known by direct revelation. Many mainstream Christians hold this view today. Far from being a cornerstone of atheism, Deism was a key development in, yes, Christian thought.

    This is a far cry from Atheism, which enshrines human reason and denies God, then tries to develop a corresponding moral code from essentially nothing. As Jefferson wrote to his nephew, “He who made us would have been a pitiful bungler, if He had made the rules of our moral conduct a matter of science.” He believed, in other words, that God created man with an inherent moral sense, and he further believed in an afterlife in which the just were rewarded and the unjust punished.

    To Jefferson, the character of God was unknowable directly, but his existence was made clear by means of human reason. Jefferson considered him every bit as real as any Christian before or since, and he considered Christ to be God’s exemplar, as did other “Deists” of the time. Specifically, Jefferson believed in God because of what you might call the argument from design. As he told Adams: “I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the Universe, in its parts general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of its composition. . . . It is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe that there is . . . a fabricator of all things.”

    The Founding Fathers who held to what we now call Deist views would not have stood out in a modern church assembly except perhaps in their refusal to accept “just because” as a moral justification. On the other hand, they would be appalled at the fallacies of modern Atheism, as the statement from Jefferson above illustrates.

    If your idea of a “Christian nation” only extends as far as what’s printed on money, well then, you’re right, we’re not a Christian nation because Christianity has never been the state religion.

    If you want to talk about the more substantive point of the nature of human rights and divine origin of morals, then this nation is indeed “Christian” in its origin, and the Founding Fathers would have considered the whole American enterprise impossible and pointless without the presence and support of God: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” What they created was a Christian nation that emphasizes morality above theology, making it possible for all people of good intent from any religion to live together under one label: American.

    Far from being an argument against this nation being founded on Christian principles, the alleged Deism of the Founding Fathers is proof that it was.

  29. tadcronn,
    Thanks for your thoughts. Though they were well reasoned, I wouldn’t be shocked if others would reason differently.

    How very interesting that your thoughts as well as others sound nothing like the “straw man” character who hanlon has sharing MYTHS while he responds with FACTS.

    Hmm…

    “Myth: Nuh-uh!
    Fact: Yuh-huh.”

    Hmm…

  30. I agree that America isn’t a “Christian Nation” per se. But the Judeo-Christian tradition is steeped in our legal codes and moral values, no matter how you cut it. We all have a pretty consistent view of what’s good and what’s evil, and that view is drawn primarily from Jewish and Christian texts. Our value system as Americans depends on those texts, whether you care to admit as much or not.

  31. I can accept this article, but how are you sure the reason we have 10 commandments is because that number is more attractive than 14 or 15?

    According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethical_Decalogue#Biblical_Origins

    “In Biblical Hebrew language, the commandments are termed עשרת הדברים (translit. Aseret ha-Dvarîm) and in Rabbinical Hebrew עשרת הדברות (translit. Aseret ha-Dibrot), both translatable as “the ten statements.”

  32. I#m gonna make this real simple.

    God and religion are separate. Just because it says, “In God we Trust” doesn’t mean that God is a Christian God.

    You can believe in a God without being Christian or of any religion whatsover.

    America is not a Christian nation.

    [But by the way, I think when they say a Christian nation, they mean one where the majority of citizens are Christian, not that the nation was FOUNDED on Christianity]

  33. I think it is like the UK – a pre-Christian nation. For me Christianity – should follow the principles of Christ – ie New Testament values and principles – not those of the Old Testament.

  34. As a devout and fairly conservative Christian, I do NOT think you need to leave America. I will happily agree to disagree here, and just so a prayer did make it through, I’m sending it up this very minute… (Insert smilie with the tongue stickin’ out)

    (((((HUGS))))) sandi

  35. I love “cow tipping”, and enjoyed this post immensely. As an ex-Christian myself, I found this refreshing.

    There is one thing about fundies that you can lay a bet on: They rarely will go out there and look for the facts themselves. They are, in almost every sense of the word, “Sheep”.

    🙂 Good job!

  36. Excellent!

  37. That’s great titus2woman, looks like you’ve been reading wikihow’s “how to persuade an atheist to become a christian” (http://www.wikihow.com/Persuade-an-Atheist-to-Become-Christian). Good luck with that, I guess.

  38. I find it telling that extremely religious have no qualms about sending threatening emails when they encounter any factual information that does not support their belief/opinion. If they believe so strongly, and they are so certain of their beliefs, why the threats?

    Great Post!

  39. The fact that this is even a debatable issue in the United States only shows how backward you are compared to the civilised secular nations of the world.

  40. I consider myself a Christ-follower, and really enjoyed your post. Thanks for injecting some common sense into the discussion.

  41. P.S. In ‘Leave it to Beaver’ days, one might be able to argue that America was a Christian nation. Now I refer to us as post-Christian. The remnants of that period are still around (and often unfortunately only translate to resentment that the period has ended), but by and large, we are a dynamic, pluralist society. Christians must learn how the teachings of their Jesus apply in this brave new world. Christians should start with Christ’s most simple admonition: “Love God, Love People.” Love God in the way you follow Him. Love people in the way you serve them.

  42. You Sir ARE one person who is telling the truth and I have a great more to say, but I must leave that for another day.

  43. I found this quite interesting. You’re very methodical and well written in your argument. Just thought I would pass this on.
    DID YOU KNOW?

    Fifty-two of the 55 founders of the Constitution were members of the established orthodox churches in the colonies.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Every session of Congress begins with a prayer by a paid preacher, whose salary has been paid by the taxpayer since 1777.

    DID YOU KNOW?
    James Madison, the fourth president, known as ‘The Father of Our Constitution’ made the following statement:

    ‘We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.’

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Patrick Henry, that patriot and Founding Father of our country said:

    ‘It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians, not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ’.

  44. God is good.

  45. Regardless of whether there’s truth in your arguments, the fact remains that Americans don’t act Christian at ALL today. War…arrogance…ignorance…greed…not what Jesus preached.

  46. Ladybeams, just as a quick thing: I hate to disappoint, but those are urban legends. Snopes may not be everyone’s favorite “source”, but it’s fairly thorough and certainly not biased. :http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/capital.asp

    “James Madison, the fourth president, known as “The Father of Our Constitution” made the following statement “We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

    * Actually, this statement appears nowhere in the writings or recorded utterances of James Madison and is completely contradictory to his character as a strong proponent of the separation of church and state.”

    Among other things.

  47. This is a much appreciated post. I wish more of my fellow Christians would actually hear out quality thinkers like yourself before dismissing what you have to say.

  48. Hasn’t anybody considered that, if someone says they are Christian, but doesn’t act like a Christian–being patient, long suffering, etc.–that they’re not a Christian?

    I read a comment, written by a guy who that all Christians were jerks (how tolerant is that?), and used Hitler as an example of a Christian…he said Hitler was was a professed, devoted Christian!

    My point is, anybody can SAY they are a Christian. But it’s the bible itself that teaches that you know a thing from its work and fruit. If you don’t act like a Christian, then you’re not a Christian.

    I’m one of those Christians that has read the constitution AND the entire bible. Using the ten commandment as guidelines was wrong—the bible says we’re dead to the law. Shoving the ten commandments down people’s throats is totally not biblical and is pointless. I don’t murder because Christ told me not to murder, not because of the ten commandments. And it is totally not biblical to shove hell and damnation in an unbelievers face. Christ said if a city didn’t receive the message of the gospel, to shake the dirt from their (the disciples) heels and just leave.

    Just some thoughts to consider when you meet a person who calls themselves a Christian.

  49. “My point is, anybody can SAY they are a Christian. But it’s the bible itself that teaches that you know a thing from its work and fruit. If you don’t act like a Christian, then you’re not a Christian.”

    The problem is that how do you know you’re a Christian? Your opinion is as subjective as Hitler’s or Paul Hill’s.

    I hear it all the time. Oh, so and so says they’re a Christian but they aren’t really, and it happens every time someone does something that another self-described Christian disagrees with.

    Someone calls Jews a “brood of vipers” and the liberal Christians say “he’s not a real Christian, he’s not preaching love.” In response, the anti-Jew Christians say “those guys aren’t real Christians, they’re too tolerant of the Christ killers”.

    The argument of “you’re not a Christian” is flawed from its onset because there’s no bullet list of what is or isn’t a Christian. If there was, there would only be one denomination and everyone would agree.

  50. America is certainly NOT a christian nation. I wish that more people would admit to that fact. There are many people who are of other faiths or who claim no religion at all. To call this a Christian nation is blatantly dishonest. Is America a white nation because most citizens are white? If one thinks yes, then we will be calling this a Latino nation soon. Same flawed logic.

  51. Hanlon – by “Christ killers”, do you mean the Romans?

  52. “The argument of “you’re not a Christian” is flawed from its onset because there’s no bullet list of what is or isn’t a Christian. If there was, there would only be one denomination and everyone would agree.”

    There’s the bible. I’ve read it so I know what sin is. I also know what it says about sin–anybody who lives in sin is not saved.

    Sometimes it’s obvious when someones not a Christian, like Hitler, for example. I’m talking about the obvious things. I’m not saying that you act like a Christian=your a Christian. When you become saved you act like a Christian.

    And even when someone does act like the perfect Christian doesn’t mean that they’re really saved. Only God knows who’s saved and who’s just ‘living the good life’.

    I wasn’t trying to prove how you can tell if a person is saved or not, but how they aren’t saved.

  53. I shouldn’t say ‘acting like a Christian’…it’s more like ‘acting Christ-like’.

  54. The Savage Coconut

    To be quite honest, much to the dismay of people like Newt Gingrich, The United State’s founding fathers were mostly freemasons. Freemasons are derived from the Gnostics (you know…the ones that always seemed to be burning on stakes). The Gnostics believed more in knowledge than religion. The “god” of masnory is most definately NOT Jehova of the Old Testament. Just look at most of George Washington’s statues. He is fequently portrayed in mason regalia. The Washington Monument is a very (phallic) mason symbol. Even Lincoln was not a Christian. Just before he was elected as president, he was working on a book that would disprove most of the Bible. Oh and here is a zinger for you….Jesus’ last name is NOT Christ. “Christ” was being worshiped for thousands of years before “Jesus”. Christ simply means “the anointed one” as in to bless with oil. Shemen is a Hebrew word that becomes “semen” in English.

  55. The Savage Coconut

    “Sin”, by the way, is an old Sumerian Moon God. The Jews stole this (as they did most things) and created the character Moses. Look up pictures of Moses. He will be shown with horns on his head. When you look at the 1/4 moon the points appear to be horns. The word “ai” is Egyptian for the word “mountain”. So Sinai actually translates to “Mountain of the Moon God”. Also, the Jews were NEVER monotheistic. The believed primarilly in three gods, Isis, (Amun) Ra, and El (the god “Saturn”) so that is how they named the country IS(is)-RA-EL.

  56. ““Sin”, by the way, is an old Sumerian Moon God. The Jews stole this (as they did most things) and created the character Moses. Look up pictures of Moses. He will be shown with horns on his head. When you look at the 1/4 moon the points appear to be horns. The word “ai” is Egyptian for the word “mountain”. So Sinai actually translates to “Mountain of the Moon God”. Also, the Jews were NEVER monotheistic. The believed primarilly in three gods, Isis, (Amun) Ra, and El (the god “Saturn”) so that is how they named the country IS(is)-RA-EL.”

    Are you completely retarded, or are you just pulling those completely ridiculous statements out of your ass for humor’s sake?

  57. Pingback: Let’s Be Careful: It’s Not That Simple « Expat Yank

  58. Greetings All:
    I am a heathen. bonified. Thaat is what christians and cat-toe-licks say that I am. They are all WRONG. I am Taino Borikua. We Tainos were the first to be murdered and enslaved by the cat-toe-licks known as cristians. By order and blessings from the throne of the evil race and empire of the vatican. Then as if that wasn’t enough B.S. the cat-toe-licks prist and nuts would come to our schools and do the weekly roundup of the damned heathens, namely us Tainos and others. All this dribble to force us to honor all the lies and deception they insist that is what we are to know. The lie of a woman that has children is still a virgen. That Jesus, now this is a load of crak. He name was Jashua Ben Joseph. That he was born on Deception 25th, well to accept this you need to consider the sheep herders; it is the wrong time of year to have sheep herdering in that part of the world. Anyway that is all dribble. What is important is that a woman can produce a child without the benifit of a man but, can only produce a female child that would be sickly and have a short life span. Do the genetic math and then you might understand. Very importanly is this question which I of a great deal of the time, Why did the white man KILLED the son of God and then said that died on the cross. I really need to know what the hell was he doing up on that cross, anyway.oh, and that he died for my sins; this thinking is full of fertilizer. I wasn’t there and I would NEVER MURDER THE SON OF GOD. so there…. When the Son of God came to us Native people, he was well pleased with our level of spirituality. And we never KILLED HIM and then create a money making scam. So much more to say, to be continued.

  59. Why do the christens celebrate heathen or pagan days as their holidays, other than just to make money on sales of the year. This is load of crap. All this money they make, do they think that they will be able to take it with them. I know the answer to that one and it is a resounding HELL NO! So why do all this if it will not gain them anything. You christens need to understand something which is very important to everyone not a cristian or cat-toe-lick, etc…. And that is that we don’t care or even want to hear that hole-lie bibble dribble. If you claim that you believe it, then, good that, is find and good, just keep it to yourself. Because you believe (be-lie-to) doesn’t mean that you have the right to force me or anyone else for that matter to believe as you do, IT IS A PERSONAL MATTER. Not one for everybody. This way we won’t have any problems with anyone’s beliefs

  60. “And that is that we don’t care or even want to hear that hole-lie bibble dribble. If you claim that you believe it, then, good that, is find and good, just keep it to yourself.”

    “IT IS A PERSONAL MATTER. Not one for everybody. This way we won’t have any problems with anyone’s beliefs”

    Those are YOUR personal beliefs. Why should we adhere to what you say is right?

  61. Well lucy, that is the point. I don’t force my way of knowledge on anyone else and yet christians of every type insist that I must become a cristian. Then some of them tell me that I will never get into heaven because my skin isn’t white, ( for that one little blessing alone I am truly grateful). When people that follow a belief system which, they feel is true or important to them, then why do they feel it is their right to force their beliefs on me or others, then feel upset when I am NOT interested in their beliefs. My why of knowledge is far older than the christian beliefs. WHY should I go for something that is in total conflict with what I know to be correct. I follow the way of MY ancestors and not anybody else’s. That is why, lucy…

  62. ““IT IS A PERSONAL MATTER. Not one for everybody. This way we won’t have any problems with anyone’s beliefs”
    Those are YOUR personal beliefs. Why should we adhere to what you say is right?”

    I was only pointing out the contradiction in your sentence.

    With todays mentality–ultimate tolerance–people should just accept Christians as they are, and not criticize how we share it with other people. People say that what we do is wrong–we can’t go around bugging other people with OUR beliefs…But what makes your way right and WE are the ones that are wrong and need to change and accept people ‘for who they are?

    It’s a complete, undeniable contradiction. And I’m not saying we ‘should be accepted’ and ‘tolerated’. I’m pointing out how contradictory it is.

    As a side note-
    People who say that you’ll never get to heaven because your skin isn’t white, are ridiculous. How many people have told you that? Remember when one person tells you that, that all Christians are not like that. Our family has a very good friend who is black. The Jews themselves aren’t white. Jesus wasn’t white.

  63. Hello Lucy:
    I felt something in your words and I thank you for it. It is a goodness in you.
    I comments aren’t constructed in contradiction. More to the point is that I don’t have an overpowering desire to force anyone to bow their heads or their knees to a bunch of words that go no where. Simply put, our ways are very different and you should celebrate as you wish and I as I wish and you and I can still be there for each other. As a healer I would not inquire as to your beliefs, before I would do all I know to do to heal you or anyone else for that matter. You are correct when you say that Jesus wasn’t white, even if he is portraited as being white, blond hair and blue eyes. He was an Esseine a very spiritual people. Not a Jew. Even the word Jew isn’t correct. There is much more to learn on this subject.

  64. As I’m always fond of saying: a nation full of Christians is not necessarily a Christian nation. Good post.

  65. Pingback: Bibles and Airports » Let’s get this straight: America is not a Christian Nation. Hanlon’s …

  66. I love JESUS!!!

    I am a proud Christian adn i believe that people in America will all be saved on day because in the bible it states: the rapture will come and Jesus will come back for all those who believe in him and those who dont will have one last chance to give there life and serve Him ONLY or go to hell with the devil….. I go to a christian school and God put us here to preach the word to every creature. GOD BLESS!!

  67. I love JESUS!!!

    the people who believe in buddah and or are Islamic that worship other idols i just have on thing to say and thats im PRAYING for you!! One of the ten commandments is do NOT put any other idols before me and if you bow to an idol you are living in SIN!!!

  68. Sounds great, but go see the quotes referenced here in thier original documents.

  69. Thomas Sheffield

    America is NOT a Christian nation and I live at ground 0 (zero) of the religious fanatic capitol of the world…

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