A painting depicting the United States as a Christian country.

From the phrase “In God we Trust” on our currency, to support for religious freedom laws, Christianity is ever-present in the United States.


Are We a Christian Nation?

The debate is about as old as this country itself, and you need not travel far to find supporters for both sides of the argument. Many people insist that although Christianity remains the dominant religion in the United States, we are not, by definition, a “Christian country”. They point to the Constitution, which is devoid of references to God and does not advocate for any particular religion over another.

However, there are those who disagree. They contend that our country was founded on Christian ideals, therefore it must be Christian. Their arguments frequently cite implicit references to religion found in the Constitution, such as the phrase “in the Year of our Lord,” which appears near the end of the document.

For obvious reasons, this conversation usually ends in a stalemate. So, let’s throw a wrench into it: were the Founding Fathers actually Christians?

The Faith of the FoundersThe founding fathers of the United States.

The Founders were all religious people – that fact is widely acknowledged. What is often disputed, however, is (1) the nature of their faith, and (2) whether they thought America ought to be based on Christian beliefs.

On the first point, certain historians insist that the Founders were not actually Christians – at least not in the traditional sense. According to this theory, their faith was better characterized as Deism – a belief in a divine creator of the earth, but one that has since relinquished contact with the human world. The Founders were people of faith with strong Christian values, the thinking goes, but may not have identified with Christianity as we commonly understand it.

Of course, this is just a theory. Other experts will argue that the Founders were devout Christians.  However, if they were in fact Deists, then it becomes quite difficult to argue that they intended to create a Christian country.

"In God We Trust" on dollar billChristian Influence Today

While the Constitution may not explicitly say so, there is a lot of evidence that we do live in a Christian country. Think about all the elements of Christianity we encounter on a daily basis. The phrase “In God We Trust” appears on all our coins and paper money, evoking questions about the supposed separation of church and state. In 1954 Congress voted to add the words “under God” to the United States Pledge of Allegiance, which is recited by children in schools across America every day. Not all school districts require the pledge, but many do.

In the realm of education, Christian beliefs have long been present. Over the years, there have been countless attempts to incorporate the Bible into student curriculum. For example, many schools teach creationism as an alternative to evolution. But it doesn’t stop there – youth sex education courses often invoke conservative religious principles and advocate abstinence-only approaches.

In a recent Pew Research Center study, 32 percent of respondents said people should be Christian to be considered true Americans.

Why Not Endorse Christianity?Women protesting influence of Islam in America.

You may have heard the common refrain: “the vast majority of Americans have always been Christians, so why shouldn’t we be a Christian country?”

Although Christianity is the dominant religion in the U.S., making it the official religion could have serious consequences – consequences that the Founders understood quite well. After all, many colonists came to the New World to flee religious persecution in Europe. If the government were to endorse a specific religion, laws promoting that religion (and suppressing others) might follow.

In an 1814 letter, Thomas Jefferson famously wrote that “Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”

Takeaways

The debate rages on. These days, the argument for protecting Christian beliefs through law is often couched in the importance of religious liberty. Indeed, the free expression of faith is universally supported in this country. However, that support can quickly erode when the expression of a religious belief intentionally violates the rights of others.

What do you think? Is America an “unofficial” Christian country? What does the future hold?

 

75 comments

  1. Guairdean says:

    Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli states that “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” This does not apply to the people of the US, but it does apply to the government. Thomas Jefferson promoted tolerance above all and said earlier that his statute for religious freedom in Virginia was “meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mohammeden, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.” He specifically wished to avoid the dominance of a single religion. The Declaration of Independence states that “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” There is no mention of powers being derived from a supreme being. A war had been fought against a ruler that claimed his power by divine right, the founders had no intention of that situation ever darkening freedom’s door. The Federalist Papers are also clear, religion is mentioned only in the context of keeping matters of faith separate from concerns of governance, and of keeping religion free from government interference. We are a nation of many faiths, and most assuredly not a nation of a single faith.

    1. Francisco says:

      Nope‼️ Each one has a separate AND appropriate place to hang out at…the key word is SEPARATE❗️ Zealous religious people of one sect or another are a threat to society in general because they want to push their own brand of beliefs down my throat, no matter what, and don’t care to respect my own. So 👎👎👎.

    2. Barbie Lockett says:

      The Government of United States of America………….MENT To comprehend with in the mantle of it’s protection, the JEW AND THE GENTILE. Mostley in our U.S. There are Christians, and Jews…My Question to all of you, remember the picture of Thomas Jefferson taking the OATH of OFFICE to become President,,,His Hand ON the”” Bible””…..Thank You very much…Amen…..Minister Barbara Lockett…

      1. Joe says:

        Grasping at straws, and taking social convention of the day to be equal to proof of devoted religious commitment to a particular religion goes way beyond logical fallacy, into the realm of BS.

      2. Francisco says:

        Barbara Lockett…how in the world do you know it really was a Bible? Where you there? Did some religious fanatic wrote that it was the Bible on History books? What if it was the Book of Freemasonry? What if it was any another solemn book other than the Bible? You can only speculate and assume that is was a Bible…and you know what happens when people “assume”. Please, expand your ‘horizons’ and accept that there are other VALID points of view that yours. Have a great life!

  2. eric karukin says:

    First off I was raised Jewish and growing up always felt I was in a Christian country, almost everything was based on Christian beliefs, legal holidays, prayers, the pledge of allegiance and so on. Now years later it is all a mish mosh of celebrated holidays, prayer is basically non-existent, and my kids don’t even know the pledge of allegiance.

    I am now a practicing Christian and being so I think time past was a better time to be of the Christian faith in this country of ours. The liberal left has gotten out of hand and has really forsaken the Christians of this country with their godlessness or every god way of thinking. The worst thing is I was once one of them.

    This country was founded on a belief that all should be able to practice what they believe, but this has been at the cost of those of the Christian faith here in the USA

    1. Aachoo says:

      Well said.
      Because of the liberal left brain washed and dumb down I am a firm believer of Christ and America is Not about practicing evil Lucifer traits.

      1. Alexander The GREAT! says:

        DI NIT BRING POLITICS INTO THIS. I am a Democrat and I have disdain for Rethuglicans. They are destroying this country on a daily basis as of now. The Fascist in the OVAL office is destructive to this NATION. Trying to block the 1st amendment rights if Americans. Granting gun right to PSYCHIATRIC released patients and wife beaters. If you support these things then YOU ARE NOT A MINISTER. You are a FALSE PROPHET.

        1. Guairdean says:

          “Rethuglicans”? Name calling doesn’t prove your point, it proves that there’s no substance behind your point. If you can’t carry on a civil discussion, it’s time to remain silent. Remember the wise words of Benjamin Franklin: “It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool that to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” You, sir, have removed all doubt.

        2. Bernard Moleman says:

          Does the LIBERAL baby need his bottle and a safe space? LMAO! I can’t wait for Trump to DEPORT you!

          1. Les Godt says:

            Very refreshing and insightful comment. Pithy and on point. I don’t know that many could state it in the way you did AND do it in less than 140 characters.
            Really advanced the course of the dialogue. How could anyone possibly refute you?
            Glad you were able to share, but, please, next time don’t hold back…say what you really think.
            There definitely is a world shortage of thinkers like youself.
            Looking forward to your next entry.

          2. Tiffany says:

            You must have been deeply hurt. I’m sorry that happened to you, and I wish you rapid and thorough healing.

            Even though you come to this forum and use language of contention, I’m glad you’re here. I hope you take the opportunity to begin healing.

            Be well.

        3. Tiffany says:

          While I agree with much of your comment, I question whether name calling is necessary. I’m neither democrat nor republican as both parties are corporatist, however find democratic policy to be more palatable from a humanitarian point of view.

      2. J Coop-Klamer says:

        I had to smile when I read your “Lucifer” comment. The name Lucifer appears only once (Isaiah 14:12) in the antiquated KJV1611 and a shoddy translation of the Latin Vulgate, which uses a lower case “lucifer”, so in context, it isn’t even a proper noun. Also, “lucifer” is later translated to “morning star” or “shining one”, in more recent translations. “Lucifer” is not the Devil, it was a reference to Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon.

    2. Stephen Wehrenberg says:

      “This country was founded on a belief that all should be able to practice what they believe, but this has been at the cost of those of the Christian faith here in the USA”

      What cost? As far as I can tell, all are able to practice whatever their beliefs may be … in private, in their homes, in their places of worship. And that’s where it should end, IMHO.

      As for the mish-mash of holidays, where we went wrong was trying to accommodate non-Christian faiths by creating additional religious holidays. If we had removed all faith-based “holidays” from our secular institutions we would have avoided the mish-mash and the conflicts. And it only wold have hurt for a little while.

      1. Eric says:

        Some excellent points, thanks

      2. Rev.Hoagie says:

        Last I read the Constitution states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibition the free exercises thereof…” . It does not say ” as long as the people exorcise their religion in private, in their homes or in their places of worship only or wherever permitted by Stephen Wehrenberg. So Stephen, the moment you begin telling Christians where and how they can practice their faith you have become an un American Tyrant.

        Of the two founding documents the Declaration of Independence mentions the Creator several times including acknowledging that our rights flow from God and it is He, not men, who have endowed us with the unalienable rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

        The object of the Constitution was to establish a secular state and therefore has no mention of God, the Creator or Provenance and the very concept of the secular state is formulated from the Protestant Reformation which philosophically separated the church from the state. That in no way indicates the Founders were not mostly Christians.

        Coming from Philadelphia and growing up in Center City I played where the Founders walked. I sat in Christ’s Episcopal Church in the pews labeled “Washington Family” and “Adams Family” and played on the grave of Benjamin Franklin and his wife in the Phila. Quaker Cemetery. And as person posting this pointed out Jefferson stated “Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.” which is the essence of a secular legal system. You also should understand the First Amendment applies to “Congress” and therefore to the federal government only, not the states. In fact Pennsylvania was “The Quaker State”, I believe Maryland was officially Roman Catholic and it goes on.

        America was never founded as nor meant to be a Christian nation if by that you mean to have a specific law requiring citizens to be Christian. And though the Founders were not all Christians, I think there were a few Jews in there and some atheists and as mentioned deists, there were no founders who were adherents of religions not associated with Western Civilization and Western Culture. So while America was not exclusively Christian it was set up profoundly Western in Culture.

        1. William Stevenson says:

          Congress established religion the moment they added “In God we trust” and “Under God”. Also, the fact that many government agencies are closed on “Christian” holidays seems like an endorsement of a particular religion to me.

          1. Atremus Coniferious (@AKConiferious) says:

            congress didn’t establish religion. they caved to McCarthyism and embraced fascism in order to be further differentiated from the Soviets. History is your friend. Ignorance not so much…

          2. Les Godt says:

            Think you’re confused. Exactly what religion is ‘God’?

      3. Amber Fry says:

        Creating a mutual respect and clear lines between faith and state? I like the idea to be honest. Religious convictions are best kept to personal and private devices. Home, family, church and groups geared specifically for such things just seems to be far more evenly respectful to all. Unless and until someone tries to force someone else to be any certain way, just leave it be.

        1. Les Godt says:

          Thanks for stating the issue so succinctly. You’re absolutely correct. Political discourse is about the state, which is not permitted involvement in religion. Faith is holding a belief in that which cannot be proven…that’s what the phrase ‘have faith in…’ conveys.

          People may have faith in their version of the bible or other texts they hold to be sacred, but that doesn’t make it a fact. And certainly not an objective truth.

          Americans should revel in their freedom to practice their faith in whatever manner we choose, but they are impinging on my freedom when then push for changes in the laws. Seeking interpretation of the law in our court is proper, but don’t ask for changes in laws to take other’s freedoms.

      4. Francisco says:

        HEAR, HEAR‼️

  3. Ama Nazra says:

    Hi guys, I am not American, but wasn’t America founded by many members of the Masonic Order, who worshiped the Great Architect of the Universe? Given that this is just another name for God, and God isn’t a Christian, I think that would allow anyone to honour any God as long as they followed commandments along the lines of ‘don’t harm anyone else for any reason’ (Jesus, not OT). Just so you know that I am not just taking a swipe at America – Australia is an incredibly multicultural country now. Our founding fathers were a bunch of explorers, soldiers, murderers and thieves .. genocide was the name of the game. If you were Aboriginal you weren’t classed as human, or as advanced as other societies, so therefore it was just fine to exterminate your tribe. That’s very biblical, and since some of those individuals did think they were Christian, it appears they took their lead from from Deuteronomy 7:1-5, where God commanded the Israelites to kill anyone who got in the way of their invasion of the ‘promised land’. And no, I am not Aboriginal either .. I just don’t think that Christians are any different from every other ‘religion’ .. or set of beliefs … on this planet, and so have no right to say ‘this is only a Christian country’ when our countries are already inhabited by people of so many other faiths.

  4. Zeke Hanzl says:

    Amendment I of our Constitution, in the “Establishment clause” is very clear on this issue. We are not a “Christian” nation nor an Islamic one, nor should our nation ever be identified with any organized religion or with none at all. The only “religious” appellation perhaps would be at all appropriate would be “Humanist” but I feel that that would not be allowable under the 1st Amendment.

  5. Stephen Wehrenberg says:

    Short answer: no. As for the future, I hope it brings what the present was supposed to be — a nation where all can practice their religion while respecting that of others. Where you can hold just about any belief about your imaginary friends, as long as you don’t insist that others share those beliefs, or change their behavior to conform with the proscriptions of your faith. I hope. But I have doubts these days.

  6. shiningwolf9 says:

    From the very beginning, from the First People to the explorers thereafter, whose religious worship and spiritual beliefs were many and varied, this continent has always been, and always be a melting pot of religious/spiritual practices. So, no, this land has never, and never will be a christianism country.

  7. Fr. Swan says:

    We can have this conversation because of this U.S.-born and headquartered organization, one where I, a pagan priest, may be legally ordained to be there for those that need such services. This could not happen in an exclusively Christian country, and as an American I’m personally thankful for such freedom. I’m sure many of my countrymen here associated with the ULC feel similarly. Many want the U.S. to be a Christian-only or Christian-legislated country in some form or another, and arguments invariably point back to certain historical founders’ possible intentions, but could they have envisioned the world before us now? Its on us, today, to decide what we will be and today many of us seem to want an inclusive rather than an exclusive law regarding such freedom.

    Culturally this country’s dominant religion is and has been Christianity, and even the language of the ULC itself is proof of that (“Universal Life Church”, “minister”, etc.). Its in keeping with what is called a ‘missionary religion’ (religions that seek to save the world.) Today that is a point of contention; how to save the world? Convert all? With guidance? With rule of law? Fewer [religious- or belief-minority] voices ask the question the rest of us may want to know; how to deal with the proselytism that seems so important to the core beliefs of the majority view? Like often answers like, I feel, and peaceful tolerance is often answered with peaceful tolerance, or if you like, the Golden Rule of Matthew 7:12; Do unto others as you would have done unto you.

    What do you think?

  8. Katheryne Crowe says:

    This country has always, on paper, been about having freedom of religion. That means the freedom to worship (or not) as you choose as long as it doesn’t impinge upon the rights of others. Regardless if someone worships Yahweh, Jesus, Allah, Ganesha, Odin or the Flying Spaghetti Monster should be irrelevant. That is between them and their chosen deity. They all have their respective communities to worship in and edify one another. Ideally, as Americans we should be able to see that all faiths are founded on the ideals of honor, love, justice and brotherhood. Religion defined is to “re-link” both to God (however you define him or her) and to one another. As to Christianity, Jesus should be the supreme authority and he gave only two commandments: Love the Lord your God with all you are, and love your neighbor as you love yourself. When asked who is one’s neighbor, he told the story of the good Samaritan. This would be like telling someone in the “far right” a story about a good Muslim. The Samaritans were hated by the Jews. So here Jesus says one’s neighbors are not just those in our own communities but those who are much different as well and His followers are to treat everyone as he or she would wish to be treated. He also said his followers would be known by their love. You don’t see much of these practices in the current form of Christianity. Worship however you want, but don’t despise me because I walk a different path and don’t try to force me to follow yours. If you believe that God will judge all at the end of time, you already acknowledge that it is His job to do so. If a conversion is to be made, that is the job of the Holy Spirit, not any preacher or teacher. The only commandment Jesus gave His followers was to exhibit love to everyone. If true Christians really wanted to follow what Christ taught, this whole argument would be a moot point, because most everyone would be drawn to their faith because of the love and true sense of community and acceptance everyone received in their presence.

    1. Gary Cunningham says:

      Most beautifully stated. Thank you Katheryne Crowe.

    2. J. Anderson says:

      A hearty second to Gary’s comment. My sad observation over the years is that many people appear to confuse ‘knowing (insert your) God’ with BEING ‘God’, and an ill-behaved one, at that…

  9. jaz wilson says:

    I think the gov’t is meant to be secular. I think you can name lots of reasons why that is so for yourself ‘)

  10. Cary Talbott says:

    “Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by a difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought to be deprecated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society.”
    ~Founding Father George Washington, letter to Edward Newenham, October 20, 1792 “The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.”
    ~John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is error alone that needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”
    ~Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Horatio Spofford, 1814 “That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forebearance, love, and charity towards each other.”
    ~Founding Father George Mason, Virginia Bill of Rights, 1776 “Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law. Take away the law-establishment, and every religion re-assumes its original benignity.”
    ~Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man, 1791
    These are just a small sampling of what our founding fathers had to say about religion in government. We were founded as a nation of individuals, united in the belief that “all men are created equal”. Most of them were children of those who came here to escape tyranny and religious persecution. Must those few once again try to use “Christianity” like some sort of club to beat the rest of us to death? Keep your faith in your heart, practice good works, love your neighbor as yourself, excellent advice just like dream it, live it and grow. Brightest Blessings.

  11. Nasir HOLLOWAY says:

    I firmly believe that this country was founded on the idea that our founders wanted “freedom of personal faith” which doesn’t necessarily mean that it was or should be predominantly Christian. This goes on to be expressed in the Constitution, “Freedom of religion” right?
    I am an American Muslim who in general is proud of this country (yes I was born here) but I feel that the country is falling apart with half Christians or Sunday only Christians and for that matter any religion who falsifies faith for personal gain.
    I hope one day that we (the people of the United States) can live together again in agreeance and love.

    1. Craig says:

      Good words. Everyone’s beliefs should be respected.

  12. Bernard Moleman says:

    Liberals need to READ the CONSTITUTION! Just like at our money and our pledge of allegiance… Jesus is right there. Great American heros like Washington, Jefferson and Reagan LOVED Jesus, something unAmerican Obama and Black Lives Matter activists seem to hate!

    1. M.M. DeFOrd says:

      Jesus is in the Constitution? hahahah Stop- you’re killing me.

    2. Les Godt says:

      Oh, Mr. Moleman. The US Constitution does not contain the words Jesus or Christ or God.
      It does state: all men are… endowed by their Creator. Not THE creator. Every man has a Creator of his choosing. (Of course, this applies to women as well.)
      The word God was inserted into our Pledge and printed on our money during the cold war, when we were threatened by the godless Soviet Union. In the raw, in was propaganda designed to make us feel rightious in our defense against communism.
      If you want to be taken seriously, please stick to the facts instead of substituting your own words for those in the documents you reference. It’s akin to me calling you Mr. Rodentman in place of your actual name, Moleman, as written. I would never do that because it’s not factual.
      And unless you are a mindreading, time traveler, you cannot not presume to know what was in the minds of Washington, Jefferson, or Reagan.
      Jesus was an activist and a liberal, as judged by the people he consorted with and his agenda regarding the sinners and the poor. The Pharisees and Herod’s administration were the greedy and oppressive conservatives.
      Seems to me you should find a better expression for the word “liberal”. Something that is definitively a pejorative, instead of one that is Christ-like.
      Your ojective is to have liberals need to read the Constitution. I have and it’s easy to see you’ve been liberal with your use of words that don’t appear in the document.

      1. Francisco says:

        Les Godt, you hit the nail right on the head, and on the first try❗️ Well written‼️ It’s amazing, and frustrating, to see soooo many people that come up with their own cockamamy interpretations of the facts and figures published here, there, and everywhere…thus, showing their level of cultural, intelectual, and educational limitations and incompetencies. Thank God that I have an unlimited supply of ‘Patience Pills’ from the ‘Pharmacy of Life’, which allow me to calm down and not say or write things to those people that will make me repent afterwards…🙏

  13. Zeke Hanzl says:

    Oh please. Just read the 1st amendment.
    Read also “The Jefferson Bible”. Note his rejection of miracles, divinity of Jesus, the resurrection as examples.
    Here’s a short description:”The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, commonly referred to as the Jefferson Bible, was a book constructed by Thomas Jefferson in the later years of his life by cutting and pasting with a razor and glue numerous sections from the New Testament as extractions of the doctrine of Jesus. Jefferson’s condensed composition is especially notable for its exclusion of all miracles by Jesus and most mentions of the supernatural, including sections of the four gospels that contain the Resurrection and most other miracles, and passages that portray Jesus as divine
    And please don’t try to outTrump Trump. “unAmerican Obama”. Also what problems do you have with Black Lives Matter?

  14. Cary Talbott says:

    Apparently you are not paying any attention to the facts. You seem to think of “alt facts” (lies) when it comes to the founding fathers, the declaration AND the constitution. Read up and know the facts before you make a further foll out of yourself!

    1. Craig says:

      I think you meant “fool” not “foll” turbo…

  15. William w. George says:

    The first amendment says that all religion’s are allowed the freedom to to worship as you see fit ,I’m starting a church that chooses smoking marijuana to commune with the Lord as a first amendment right ,and no state or Federal law has the right to deny me that right, I am a Christian a deism,like our fore father’s, but that same freedom must be extended to all other religions, even though I don’t believe the same as they do.

  16. Rev. Kathy T says:

    Simply stated, “One Nation Under God”….God is not a religion…call what you like. Prime Creator, Mother-God, Yawee, etc…all prayers heard and we are being lead and changed as I write this message..look into each other’s eyes to the souls and make that loving connection for it it LOVE to make the difference in changing this planet..not just the USA.

  17. Craig says:

    It says “In God we trust.” It doesn’t specify Christian god.

    The U.S. was founded on the melting pot, and that’s the way it was intended. People in this country have forgotten that and instead of embracing people of all religions (and yes, Islam and even the Satanists), we again try to control and dictate religion.

    IF people harm each other in the name of religion, then that’s a whole other story (and yes that includes Christians–KKK ring a bell?), and that’s not acceptable.

    We are the melting pot of the world…or at least we were designed that way. Our country was founded on the principle of seeking refuge from religious persecution and yet, what have we become?

    I’m all for In God We Trust as long as you don’t tell everyone which God they have to choose.

  18. Gary Evans says:

    Yes we need God in everything we do and everything that need help with. You see what happen to a country without God. The nation goes down hill and won’t stop.

  19. Rev. Dr. Marion Ceruti says:

    We need to keep God in mind as a guide for everything we do. This includes government work. A system of government founded on God as creator will encourage brotherhood and love for fellow citizens. To erase all references to God in public life is to establish atheism as the de facto state religion.

    1. Les Godt says:

      Time and time again, “systems of government founded on God as creator” have caused conflicts.
      Every “tribe” has it’s own god which is a cause to destroy another tribe and it’s god.
      This is true of nation states, as well as tribes in the remotest jungle.
      There is no acceptance of
      a monolithic god, so belief in god cannot bring harmony to all of
      humankind.
      The self-righteous religious leaders, be they christian, muslim, jew, or the sun-woshipping tribe who are prone to invoking god for a blessing when going to war, most often ceate conflict to enhance their own power and reap the benefits of such.
      TV evangelists make war on Satan to acquire wealth.
      Keep your god in your head, your home, and in the company of like believers. And try not to make a pest of yourself. And I will do the same.

      1. Sara Cannon says:

        I totally agree with your response to the reverend. Thank you for writing it so well. To erase all references to God in public life is not to establish atheism as the state religion, but to let every one’s religion or non-religion be equal in the eyes of the state. That is the brilliance of our forefathers when they wrote the Constitution after escaping from state religion and what makes the United States safe and welcoming for everyone.

      2. Rev. Dr. Marion Ceruti says:

        Belief in God is not enough. Actions are more important than beliefs. Conflicts come from people whose actions are not founded in love, not from belief in God. Our actions should support our beliefs. Just because some have used religion as an excuse to further selfish ends does not mean that we should ignore all spiritual experiences. If you do not believe in God, ask yourself, what is the origin of all the matter and energy in the universe. To deny God is a leap of faith that I just cannot make. We are here for a purpose, which is connected with God as creator. If a belief in God pesters you, why are you a minister?

        1. Fr. Swan says:

          Rev., I think it would be wise to remember that the Universal Life Church and its ministers are patterned from a Christian template, with legal and official terminology, as not all of us are even religious in the strictest sense. I understand that the common conception, backed by a dictionary definition of “minister” disagrees with that, but here we hold a more inclusive idea of “Reverend” and “Minister”. I hold a polytheistic animistic non-dualistic view, so to hear the suggestion that I’m a minister so long I hold that “God as creator” does seem to fly in the face of what this gathering is about, given the inclusiveness and variety of “ministers” ordained and present. This, I think, is the kind of American organization I can get behind – what I want to see of American culture. I am hoping this too is Love.

          1. Rev. Dr. Marion Ceruti says:

            You are right, that ULC has a very inclusive scope of those who can become ministers without the requirement to adhere to a particular dogma. This is one of the features that attracted me to it. Other online church groups require a belief in Christianity, which I find too narrow. Even though the structure seems to have a significant contribution from Christian traditions, the website includes many other religions, a feature that I find refreshing. We can be inclusive and tolerant of each other’s belief systems and even learn from them. Love is our guiding light. I certainly do not mean to imply that you have to accept the Christian view of God as creator as a prerequisite to becoming a minister because that would be a dogma. However, most people who request ordination believe in some form of a higher power, which I call God, more so than those who do not.
            Peace to unto you and best of success.

  20. Paula Shea says:

    People would not really want to live in a Christian nation, though some believe they would. Jesus was very clear that his followers should not resist violence, but turn the other cheek. He took thou shalt not kill to the extreme and called on others to follow. He said live and do as I did, and then allowed himself to be tortured and killed. He rejected defending himself and warned others that following him was very difficult and most wouldn’t want to do it. Guess he called that right by all the guns in this country.

  21. Sean Collins says:

    It seems at it simplest that the word God encompasses ALMOST all possibilities and potentialities… it seems to me, that the expression is meant to be one of inclusion of belief, not an exclusion or a singling out of any one faith as the “right” faith… it doesn’t say “in Christ we trust” or “in Allah we trust”… it implies all

    1. Les Godt says:

      ALMOST?? What possibility or potential would you exclude?
      Some athiests say they hust have just not found the right god.
      Does having no god, but living a good (and everything it implies) life preclude one from attaining the promised land?

  22. Robert E. McCallum says:

    I prefer all religions to stay out of government. To dispense justice unevenly because one does not belong to the “dominant” religion is EVIL. period

  23. RT says:

    Church and state should be 100% seperated; period! One should not effect the other in any way.

  24. solange silverman says:

    America has separation of church and state, as it should. Furthermore, the founders were not Christians and, in fact, made many disparaging remarks about Christianity. We are NOT a “Christian” nation but one of many diverse religions, none of which should be allowed to affect our government, as the government allows for the freedom to follow whichever one chooses.

  25. Joe says:

    First of all, there is no law stating that this is a Christian Nation, but there are laws that either state it clearly (Treaty of Tripoli) and laws that forbid it (1st Amendment) and laws that imply that it is not (Article 6 of the Constitution). Over all I think that make it clear that this is, according to law, not a Christian Nation.

    Second, sans law, what would make us a Christian Nation? Being a Nation that follows the Teachings of Christ might. But every person I know who believes this is a Christian Nation also backs politicians and positions that would take aid away from the poor, whereas Jesus told us to feed and help the poor. For the most part they also have claimed that their positions against abortion and gay marriage are based on their Christian Faith, even though Jesus never said anything on these 2 subjects. They are against helping refugees, which goes against Jesus teachings (“what-so-ever you do unto the least of these you do unto me.”)

    The question in the end, is not whether this is a Christian Nation, but whether the majority of people in this country calling themselves Christians, are, in fact, Christians at all.

    1. Sara L. Cannon says:

      Interestingly, the precepts that Jesus preached are totally Jewish coming from his Jewish tradition. Jews don’t believe that everyone has to be Jewish. Just be the best human beings you can be no matter what religion you are. Basically, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

  26. the druid shrum says:

    Built into the constitution is religious freedom. Built into Christianity is evangelism, the neccessity of bringing the heathen to Jesus “for their own good”. The conflict between these two concepts is why christians see their religious freedoms stifled when the government will not pass law which make everyone defacto christians. Religious opinion has no business dictating government policy. Just sayin’.

    1. Brian Balke says:

      Separation of church and state is of benefit to religions.

      The tendency of politicians throughout history has been to use religion to enforce oppressive policies. So I would advance an addendum to your point: political convenience has no business dictating religious practice. Historically, I think that this is the greater concern, and the trail of “moral majority” money into our political system suggests that it may be the case still today.

  27. Brian Balke says:

    Is it still “In GOD we trust?” I thought that it had changed to “In .gov we trust.”

    More importantly: If Jesus was actually around and people honored him enough to offer him the Oval Office, then we wouldn’t need the Oval Office. We’d just quietly go around taking care of each other, and planning a future that allowed our descendants to do the same..

    1. Les Godt says:

      Can anyone define a ‘Christian’?
      A follower of Christ? In how many ways does one have to follow Christ’s teachings and examples to be a real Christian. 5? 10? More?
      The semon on the mount is said to be the gist of his advice to achieve salvation. Is it enough to claim to be a Christian, if you adhere to these exhortations?
      Anyone want to say why he/she claims to be Christian?
      Is believing in the ‘Old Testament’ a prerequisite to being Christian’?
      Science denial aside, if intelligent life is found on any of the thousands of exo-planets, are we to expect an exo-Christ and exo-Christians?
      Is free will necessary to be a Christian? That is, does one have to choose to be a Christian? Or does baptism into a Christian church as an infant mske one a Christian. Wven though the infant has no knowledge of Christ?
      What is the litmus test for entrance into Christianity?

      1. Brian Balke says:

        There are a number of criteria advanced, but I believe they all have their root in this: God is love, and we manifest our greatest power when we act in love. This was demonstrated by Jesus of Nazareth and his works. His entire ministry was devoted to one thing: breaking the bondage of the theology of sin that convinces us that we are not worthy of love and the power it brings – or conversely, to give us faith in our worthiness to receive those gifts.

        The measure of our worthiness is the service that we provide to love in loving one another and the world that sustains us.

        This teaching is not unique to Christianity. To be Christian, then, is to tender admiration particularly to Jesus for the discipline of his commitment to love – a commitment that ended with his death at the hands of those he came to serve. Through worship, that strength has been amplified psychically through the centuries, until now it is a pillar against which Christians can rest when they are weary.

  28. Maureen Tighe-Brown says:

    USA an officially christian country? Certainly not. Impossible, given our Constitution.

    And as for all the comments here about democrats & liberals, well, maybe this isn’t the country for you.

  29. Lynne Anton says:

    One of the great ironies of our history is that the Pilgrims actually founded this land on the basis of freedom of religion. Those people are the Americans who pulled off the Salem debacle, kicked out or killed Jews, made Quakers unacceptable, and reviled people who were of the Church of England. DO NOT ASSERT THAT WE WERE FOUNDED BY CHRISTIANS. These people were as segregated religiously as any I know of.

    You should read the Jefferson Bible. He took out everything but what Jesus said. That was his religion. A truthful morality.

    We need to grow up and stop labeling and judge only by individual morality. And you can’t know that without KNOWING someone. And then is judging really OK?

    I am truly tired of our society struggling with this nonsense. Either we are good people or bad people. Even criminals are not asked what religion they are. Think about that.

  30. J Coop-Klamer says:

    Religion belongs at home and in faith communities, not in government – especially not in a culturally diverse society. No religious minority should ever force religious-based legislation. Ethics are higher than morals, and should guide our leaders. Morals vary, where ethics are based on reason. Fundamentalists are driven by extreme emotions, highly volatile and dangerous, no matter which religion. They do not lead/govern, they dictate.

  31. Shane Lowrey says:

    While may citizens are Christian, this country, since it’s founding, has never been a Christian country. The contract that establishes it, and it’s contract to the world, the US Constitution, makes that point clearly. How is there even a question?

  32. gsl2727 says:

    I love how my fellow Christians complain about persecution. There are many multiples of Christian churches in every town and city in this country and a lot out in the middle of no where. The only thing being objected to about Christians in this country is how a great many of us want to push our beliefs onto everyone else. That is not persecution, that is liberty and justice for all.

  33. Tiffany says:

    Some excellent points have been made here. I believe we were intended to have freedom of and from (if we choose) religion, and in separation of church and state. I also think those concepts have been eroded a bit since corporations gained personhood.

  34. Rev. Donna says:

    Our money says ‘In God We Trust’. God is not a religion. We sometimes get caught up on labels.

  35. Rev. Francisco says:

    We are definitely NOT! a Christian Nation, anymore than we are a Buddhist Nation, or a Mohammedan Nation, or a Hindu Nation, etc. Such labels foment unnecessary divisions among people, sometimes to include hostilities, and that’s no way to worship God, or Mohamed, or Buda, or Brahma, etc. After all, everybody is reaching to God, no matter what name you wish to give to such Deity.

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