Have We, Like Esau, Cast Aside Our Birthright?
“Those that honor me I will honor; but those that despise me I will disdain” 1 Sam. 2:30
President Obama made a comment in a speech in which he appeared to be trying to appease the Muslim nations by declaring that America was no longer a Christian nation. While it certainly can’t be denied that we are in a post Christian culture, the concept of what makes or made America a Christian nation may be deeper and more complex than the president understands. He also may be misunderstanding exactly what makes America, a “Christian nation”, in the eyes of Muslim people, which has more to do with American history, and our relationship with the nation of Israel, than it does with the protestations of American politicians
In what sense can any nation be called a Christian Nation? It is a concept that has been held dear since before the Revolutionary War, as each colony made it clear that their very purpose for existing was based on Christian belief. Maybe we shouldn’t be so eager to back away from or be embarrassed by what was obviously our heritage. Particularly if it was on that heritage that our political freedoms were built. And it’s more than doubtful that doing so will gain us more than a plate of beans (if even that) from our Muslim freinds. If we are not a Christian nation, contrary to what the majority of American presidents have said and the Supreme Court has ruled, what kind of nation are we? Have we become too broad and sophisticated to view ourselves as Christian?
If we believe all religions are equal or if the majority of us are atheists, that would make us pagan, but our heritage and our very reasons for forming a government, and our traditions were not based or built on paganism. Do the majority of us consider ourselves to be atheists? What percentage of citizens have to claim Christianity in order to make us a Christian nation?
Being a Christian nation never meant that we didn’t aknowledge or respect other religions, so what has changed? Could it be that our infatuation with the idea of becoming global citizens has made us eager to back away from our identity? If so, the change may come at a greater price than we imagine. Will putting ourselves increasingly under global governance solve all our problems, or will we just lose the ability to govern ourselves? And perhaps the very sense of independence that generations of Americans have fought for, will be lost in the process .
When England threatened religious freedom, our forefathers fled to Switzerland or Holland or France. If these countries began to back step on religious freedom, they sailed for America. When a one world government becomes drunk with power and begins to demand religious conformity or makes coercive demands on the people which violate their conscience, where will you flee? Or do you just plan on bending your knee to what ever the powers that be demand? What has happened to the belief that our safety lies in independence and in a diversity among the nations? Below are various quotes of legal experts and presidents on what defines the concept of being a christian nation, an idea which can be more difficult to understand with your head than your heart.
(many of the quotes below are found at www.wallbuilders.com , in an article which discusses the definition of what makes a Christian nation)
…”the teachings of the Bible are so interwoven and entwined with our whole social and civic life that it would be literally impossible to figure what life would be like if these standards were removed. We would lose almost all the standards by which we now judge both public and private morals.”
Teddy Roosevelt, James Willis, The Letters and Speeches of Theodore Roosevelt, 1937, p.86
[I]n what sense can [America] be called a Christian nation? Not in the sense that Christianity is the established religion or that the people are in any manner compelled to support it. On the contrary, the Constitution specifically provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Neither is it Christian in the sense that all its citizens are either in fact or name Christians. On the contrary, all religions have free scope within our borders. Numbers of our people profess other religions and many reject all. Nor is it Christian in the sense that a profession of Christianity is a condition of holding office or otherwise engaging in public service, or essential to recognition either politically or socially. In fact, the government as a legal organization is independent of all religions. Nevertheless, we constantly speak of this republic as a Christian nation – in fact, as the leading Christian nation of the world.
Supreme Court Justice David J. Brewer, The United States: A Christian Nation (Philadelphia: John C. Winston Company, 1905), p. 13.
We classify nations in various ways: as, for instance, by their form of government. One is a kingdom, another empire, and still another republic. Also by race. Great Britain is an Anglo-Saxon nation, France a Gallic, Germany a Teutonic, Russia a Slav. And still again by religion. One is a Mohammedan nation, others are heathen, and still others are Christian nations. This republic is classified among the Christian nations of the world. It was so formally declared by the Supreme Court of the United States. In the case of Holy Trinity Church vs. United States, 143 U.S. 471, that Court, after mentioning various circumstances, added, “these and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”
Supreme Court Justice David J. Brewer, The United States: A Christian Nation (Philadelphia: John C. Winston Company, 1905), p. 11
[I] have said enough to show that Christianity came to this country with the first colonists; has been powerfully identified with its rapid development, colonial and national, and today exists as a mighty factor in the life of the republic. This is a Christian nation. . . . [T]he calling of this republic a Christian nation is not a mere pretence, but recognition of an historical, legal, and social truth.
Justice Brewer, same book, pp.40, 46
“I believe the entire Bill of Rights came into being because of the knowledge our forefathers had of the Bible and their belief in it: freedom of belief, of expression, of assembly, of petition, the dignity of the individual, the sanctity of the home, equal justice under law, and the reservation of powers to the people. . . . I like to believe we are living today in the spirit of the Christian religion. I like also to believe that as long as we do so, no great harm can come to our country.”
Justice Earl Warren, “Breakfast in Washington,” Time, February 15, 1954
“This is a Christian Nation. More than a half century ago that declaration was written into the decrees of the highest court in this land [in an 1892 decision”
President Harry Truman, Harry S. Truman, “Exchange of Messages with Pope Pius XII,” American Presidency Project, August 6, 1947
America was born a Christian nation – America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scripture.
President Woodrow Wilson, Paul M. Pearson and Philip M. Hicks, Extemporaneous Speaking (New York: Hinds, Noble & Eldredge, 1912), 177,