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U.S. Christians Should Rethink America’s “Christian Nation” Status

by Ezekiel E. Rhymes

The narrative of the “Christian nation” has endangered the lives of millions, including those professing Christ.

Introduction

In the United States, many have claimed that the U.S. is a Christian nation. From this viewpoint, many Conservative Evangelical Christians have developed a sense of nationalism, an ideology that exceeds patriotism. From this ideology, many Christians have placed the U.S. on top of every other nation.

From this perspective, they have developed a great sense of pride; so much so, they will cheer on America in whatever it is doing because if they, a “Christian nation,” are doing something, then it automatically must be right. And yet, as we have seen time and time again, this is not the case; no, in fact, this “Christian nation” has endangered the lives of millions, including those professing Christ. It is from this U.S. ideology, with its acts of violence and cruelty, that many in the Church have suffered.

It is my current endeavor to deconstruct this false ideology, that has blinded multitudes of people from seeing America in its true form. In this five-part series, the reasoning behind the freedom of religion in colonial America, and the separation between church and state in autonomous America will be examined. In addition, the persecution between many Christian denominations in early America, as well as highlighting the individual persecutions against Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson will be looked at.  Finally, we will go through the United States’ dealings with foreign countries, and how they have hurt the Church universal.

The Freedom of Religion and the Separation of Church and State

One of the most forwarded arguments for America being a Christian nation is the concept of freedom of religion, in which the Church operated with full freedom. Many people believe that the rulers of America did this because they were kind-hearted Christians and that they wanted to see God’s Church flourish. This was hardly the case however. According to Winthrop S. Hudson, author of the book, “The Story of the Christian Church,” the real motivation behind this strategy was largely political and economic. Here is an excerpt from his book explaining this:

“The economic advantage to be gained from a policy of toleration was made explicit in instructions sent to Peter Suyvesant, governor of New Amsterdam. He was reminded that the prosperity of old Amsterdam was due in no small measure to the moderation of magistrates in dealing with religious dissent, with the consequence that ‘people have flocked from every land to this asylum,’ and he was informed that a similar policy should be pursued in New Amsterdam. ‘It is our opinion that some connivance would be useful, and that the consciences of men, at least, ought to remain free and unshackled.’

“Similar instructions were sent by the Lords of Trade in London to the Council of Virginia: ‘A free exercise of religion … is essential to enriching and improving a trading nation; it should be ever held sacred in His Majesty’s colonies’ … Edward Seymour, Lord of the Treasury put it more bluntly … ‘Souls, [said] Seymour, ‘damn your souls; make tobacco.’” [1]

Many, if not most, of the Founding Fathers of the independent country of the U.S. have been portrayed as Christian. Yet, as demonstrated before, their main concern was for the government to run as smoothly as possible. James Madison said this regarding the purpose of freedom of religion: “The civil government functions with complete success by the total separation between the Church and the State.”

Thomas Jefferson said something similar when he stated: “We have solved … the great and interesting question whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government and obedience to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort which results from leaving every one to profess freely and openly those principles of religion which are the inductions of his own reason and the serious convictions of his own inquiries.”

Regarding whether or not the United States was founded as a Christian nation, the Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were pretty blunt in stating their position: (Jefferson) “Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law”;  (Adams) “The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”

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SOURCE: Rhymes Media Group

Ezekiel E. Rhymes is a columnist for Rhymes Media Group.