empty church pews
Empty church pews are a threat to America's bedrock principles.

The following guest sermon was submitted by ULC minister Bradley Blaire. All ULC Ministers are invited to contribute their own sermons for consideration/publication. To submit a sermon, please email it to sermons@themonastery.org_._


A new poll out from Gallup shows that faith is down across America. Less than 50% of Americans report being members of a church. If that's not a huge warning sign, I don't know what is. 

The last year has certainly not helped the institutions of faith that built this country. Some church doors have been closed for over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, forced to take their sermons online.

Anyone who’s ever gone to church knows what a crippling blow this was. Church is built on community.

Some people are celebrating the decline of faith and churchgoing in America. But not me. Religion, and Christianity in particular, is part of the fabric of this nation. We'd be foolish to turn away from it in this time of grave need. 

America is Built on Christianity

While America was not founded as a theocracy, it is built on Christian morality. Our founding documents use biblical language and Christian rhetoric at every turn. The Declaration of Independence, for example, states:

“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.”

The document concludes with the following:

“With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”

These statements were not inserted haphazardly. All 56 men who signed that document knew that ‘our Creator’ means the Abrahamic God.

Indeed, while the founders did not want the establishment of a national church, they almost unanimously agreed on the value of promoting Christianity in public life. Even Thomas Jefferson, a deist, was often keen to link the United States and religion. His (rejected) design for the seal of the United States was a depiction of Moses leading the exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt.

God is everywhere in this great country - ‘In God We Trust’ is printed on our currency. ‘Under God’ is in our Pledge of Allegiance. But more importantly, the freedoms that we are lucky to enjoy are granted to us not by man – who is fallible, shortsighted, and easily corrupted – but by our Creator, who is infallible and of enduring spirit. 

The Heart of the Nation

We’ve established how important Christianity was in shaping America’s past. I believe it’s also important to shaping America’s present, and future.

You could argue that never has this country, deeply divided as we are, needed faith MORE than right now. The worst mistake we could make is to plug our ears to God's word when it matters most. 

As we rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic, we'll need strong arms around us. Church is one of our most valuable community resources, a place where neighbors become our extended family. A place of helping, healing, and spiritual growth. A place where we can anchor ourselves in Christ.

Humans are social animals. In every small town in America, there is a house of God where the community gathers each Sunday to pray and lift each other up. It is the soul of the community.

It stands to reason, then, that attacks on religion put the very soul of this nation at risk. We must not roll over when challenged by those who would seek to tear down this way of life.

Faith will endure. 

34 comments

  1. Dave J's Avatar Dave J

    If Christianity built this country, then it is a travesty. Good Christians owning slaves were the original titans of industry. And we are still weeping from that horrid application of the bible. As for "One nation, Under God" in the pledge of allegiance, that was added during the McCarthy era. That's also when "In god we trust" was added to currency. Do you really want to be reminded of that time? Or do you not read history? Do you want to be condemned to repeat it? It is not religion that this country needs for the future, it is caring individuals doing the right thing. Religion is not the sole source of morality. If it was, then which religion? I will eschew them all, thank you. I can be moral and just and kind withough having to rely on bronze age texts that tell me to kill my children if they disobey me. The evangelicals are going to be the downfall of this country.

    1. Rev Nolan's Avatar Rev Nolan

      I completely agree. I concur especially when you state: “It is not religion that this country needs for the future, it is caring individuals doing the right thing. Religion is not the sole source of morality. If it was, then which religion?”

      I lean toward non-sectarian Islam which forbids organized religion and advocates for true Sharia laws, which is a huge contrast to what we know from sectarian Islam. It’s like vegetarianism where you don’t eat meat. If you eat meat, you are not a vegetarian. If you go contrary to the Qur’ān, you are not a Muslim like all Islamic sects. If you punish people of different sexual, religious, dietary, and other walks of life, then you have no clue what true Sharia Law is.

      In my thinking, you make an excellent point in asking the question of “...then which religion.” I concur that religion is not the answer to society’s current woes and future challenges, but genuinely good, caring people doing the right thing is the answer as well as respecting all walks of life.

      Thank you for your comments.

      1. JaZe's Avatar JaZe

        As science advances and learns more and more about dimensions, obes, ndes and so on religions will hopefully begin to converge and drop extremism.

  1. James Pace's Avatar James Pace

    You scare me. Ever heard of a thing called separation of church and state? This country most definitely was not built on christianity.

    1. John Norris Campbell's Avatar John Norris Campbell

      You may be right that these states were not "built on Christianity"....except for the fact that EVERY person that had a hand in formulating the constituation of these states that form a union had some form of christianity....maybe not your paticular brand, but nevertheless....still ONE NATION UNDER GOD....And not the god of Odin...Moleck...Satan...or any other lesser god you can think of...So yea! worship your pretend gods....this country guarentees your freedom

      1. Martin L Stigleman's Avatar Martin L Stigleman

        You are aware that the Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892...and wasn't adopted until 1942...but the phrase "UNDER GOD" was not added until 1954, by elected Christians who were working to promote Christianity as a National Religion. For the record..."IN GOD WE TRUST" was adopted 2 years later, in 1956. Research can save a lot of embarrassment...Give it a shot!

      2. Alan Meunier's Avatar Alan Meunier

        The founding fathers were NOT Christian, they were diests, and a few were even (gasp!) atheists!

        1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

          Is your gasp Sir one of dismay, or pleasure.

          Many atheists I know are very pleasant and intelligent, with great morals, which cannot be said for most of the gods that many people follow. I guess there’s good and bad in most of us though.

          Thank you for your comment.

          🦁❤️

      3. Brian Scott Hoff's Avatar Brian Scott Hoff

        John... I see from the others that already replied that your argument about the nation being "under god" is not holding up to scrutiny. Wishing something were true does not do much to actually make it true. Proclaiming it harder, saying the same thing in a new way... none of that appears to hold up to scrutiny. Were you to find some sort of compelling evidence.. perhaps a document from several founding fathers, indicating that they intentionally were including the Christian god and bible as a means for writing our Constitution then it would be difficult to dismiss such a document. But, until that type of evidence is uncovered it is far easier to explain that the founder's did not expressly include it as a basis for the founding of our country.

    2. CB's Avatar CB

      Actually it was. Please do some research on the Founding Fathers, and the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of 1776 and the Bill of Rights.

      1. Timothy Ramsey's Avatar Timothy Ramsey

        As spelled out in the 1796 Treaty of Tripoli, ratified by the US Senate on June 7, 1797:

        "the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion."

        No, the US was NOT founded on deist principles. Thank God for that.

      2. Brian Scott Hoff's Avatar Brian Scott Hoff

        You state to "do the homework". But, you completely missed the opportunity to show the homework... the homework that puts the case to rest. Why not do that? Then we, who think you are incorrect, would have to consider the evidence you have brought to the conversation. I see Timothy did a pretty good job of finding evidence which would indicate to the contrary of your position. Well done, Timothy. A direct quote from a signed treaty seems to be the kind of evidence that one can start to make conclusions from.

  1. Catherine Colvin's Avatar Catherine Colvin

    Religions:

    ~ established and foster organized codependency ~ nurture ignorance through brainwashing ~ develop/ed insane torture devices ~ thrive on division and manipulation ~ create needless wars and deaths of innocents ~ established convents as brothels, enslaved children and women for comfort or pleasure, concubines and geishas, the Magdalene Laundries, etcetera ~ maintain homelessness and prisons as lucrative revenue producers ~ keep potentially capable people guilt ridden and unable to accept credit for good effort or accept responsibility for transgressions

    Religion is a bully's tool.

    I would not be surprised if religions destroy more life than - with the exception of humans - all the predators in the world combined.

  1. Rev. Laurie G. Cleveland RN's Avatar Rev. Laurie G. Cleveland RN

    I did Christmas service f I r kids on an adolescent unit. It was based on 3 wooden Crosses by Ray Travis. I held up my once white Rainbow Girls Bible that you get when you turn 18. It had been through a house fire. It had soot o. It, the binding was a mess. I told them that they were a lot like this Bible. But then I showed them the inside. Every page could be read. There was nothing wrong with it. You can choose to be wants on the outside or choose what is on the inside.

    1. Ealdormon Piparskeggr Robinson's Avatar Ealdormon Piparskeggr Robinson

      This Master Mason applauds your approach with those youths.

  1. John P Maher's Avatar John P Maher

    PEOPLE, GOOD PEOPLE ARE THE SOUL of THE WORLD, NOT GODS, NOT LIES, NOT FAITH in LIES, NOT GREED, NOT GOLD, BUT GOOD PEOPLE !

  1. Jeanette Harlow's Avatar Jeanette Harlow

    Hi, somehow I missed the part where the following quote from this article stated "Christianity?"

    "“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.”

    The document concludes with the following:

    “With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”"

    It appears to me that they believed in a Creator/God/Goddess that didn't need religion to explain universal truths. Source Creator, in my view is not limited by religion...rather he/she/it is expanded by all our individual abilities to "take God out of the box"! Or so, that has been my mission this lifetime.

    Blessings to all who engage in and believe in their own personal connection to all that is. Rhea Summer Rain

    1. Brian Scott Hoff's Avatar Brian Scott Hoff

      "By their Creator"... I have always read this by looking at the word "their". As in, the creator that "they" (we) determined as the source of everything. In my own opinion the source is the Universe. The physics that have lead to where everything is now. The fact that they chose "their" rather than choosing something more specific such as "By the Holy God" seems important. It would have been easy for them to choose more specific words to eliminate any ambiguity as to what they were intending to say. But... they chose a more ambiguous phrase. Why? In my opinion it was so that each of us could define what our "Creator" is. I find the "Devine Providence" sentence similar. It seems more specific words could be chosen to avoid any misunderstanding of what the writers intended. Their choice to use less specific words seems intentional considering they were very careful to be specific at certain times and other times they were more vague. It would seem inconsistent in our reading to try to apply specificity to vague phrases. If we are to do that then we should be consistent & do it with every sentence of the Declaration & the Constitution.

  1. Martin L Stigleman's Avatar Martin L Stigleman

    The statement "God is everywhere in this great country - ‘In God We Trust’ is printed on our currency. ‘Under God’ is in our Pledge of Allegiance." is as ignorant as it is arrogant. Both were not originally in place, but were put there many years after by elected representatives in an attempt to promote Christianity as a National Religion for our Country. "You could argue that never has this country, deeply divided as we are, needed faith MORE than right now."? This is also a travesty when you consider the fact that, primarily the division in this Country is a direct result of Christians attempting to force their own morals and ethics on all of society. "Christian Morals" are currently pushing to dehumanize members of the LGBTQ+ community. "Christian Morals" are at the root of the voter fraud conspiracy claims, which led to the attack on our Capital. The primary resistance to refugees, the criminalization of the homeless, and even the resistance to a Universal Healthcare System originate in the Christian Churches of America. You say "We must not roll over when challenged by those who would seek to tear down this way of life", and at the same time you declaim everything that the Bible itself teaches that is inconvenient to your promotion of hate and control. The Pandemic has allowed more people to take a break from the constant, droning, brainwashing technique that has been used to reinforce the Christian backed hate and intolerance. More people are able to open their eyes and to realize that, this is not who we are as a Country and as a people. Let the Churches die...Let our Country be free.

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    What made America was slavery, not religion.

    1. Judith's Avatar Judith

      Slavery was still legal in Great Britain until 1833, almost 60 years after the United States separated from them. Slavery was NOT the reason this country was formed.

      1. Brian Scott Hoff's Avatar Brian Scott Hoff

        He did not say "why it was formed". He said "What made America". I see plenty of evidence that suggests he's got a point. Slavery had already existed for more than 100 years prior to our Independence. It was included as a fact in our founding documents. It was baked right in and had 100 years of momentum behind it. What this has to do with Great Britain I am unable to tell. That seems rather irrelevant to the question other than White people of British descent did not know to get rid of slavery when founding a new country. Staying stupid is not a very good excuse for explaining why something happened. The founders were big thinkers with a substantial common flaw. They could not rid themselves of Slavery though some did consider it. Thinking about being "good" is not the same as being "good".

  1. Clifford's Avatar Clifford

    Was it “In God we Trust”? Or Religion? There is a difference..

    1. Brian Scott Hoff's Avatar Brian Scott Hoff

      You can let that motto go. It was written in the late 50's by people scared of communism. The founding fathers had nothing to do with those words.

  1. CB's Avatar CB

    Christianity (and spirituality in general) is being attacked. See: https://www.naturalnews.com/2021-04-01-big-tech-censoring-religious-content-protecting-satanism-pedophilia.html

    1. Brian Scott Hoff's Avatar Brian Scott Hoff

      Uhhhhh.... yeah. Dude, that site has some pretty big problems with facts & truth. Science... it ain't.

  1. CB's Avatar CB

    See: https://www.naturalnews.com/2021-04-01-big-tech-censoring-religious-content-protecting-satanism-pedophilia.html

    1. china mayhew's Avatar china mayhew

      please, my state just issued the master list of catholic priest involved in sexual misconduct. of the 12 priests i had contact with in my first 18 years 9 were on the list. one cut a swath from ct to fla and up into ontario. he liked little boys. then there was the one we had over for dinner at least once a month, he was ever so youth involved. it was thought making him principle of the catholic high school would solve the problem. three catholic churches in the town all with multiple priests implicated in sexual misconduct. religion is an internship program for pedophiles. pedophiles flock

      1. Rev Nolan's Avatar Rev Nolan

        I disagree that “...religion is an internship program for pedophiles. pedophiles flock.” I could say the same thing about religion with regard to murderers and any other felons and those guilty of misdemeanors. Most of them in America are indeed Christian and the majority of Christians in the United States don’t even believe in the true and contextual teachings of Jesus. There are those who commit one crime and those who commit other crimes whether associated with religion or not, so that being said I would agree with you if you said instead that “... America is an internship program for criminal behavior.”

  1. Walter Eugene Curtis's Avatar Walter Eugene Curtis

    To the extent that a religion enables practice-makes-perfect for positive spiritual principles propounded by said religion, it is furthering and enabling a greater alignment with the Creator (however one chooses to name or define that). Making spirituality practical and part of everyday life is one of the best reasons for a religion to exist.

    For a nice example of this, check out "The Case for the Psalms," by N. T. Wright. https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-case-for-the-psalms-n-t-wright/1114298610?ean=9780062230515

  1. Brien's Avatar Brien

    I don't care what you believe in. I don't care how you worship. I don't care what label you self identify with. You should not care about any of those when it comes to me. This country was founded on freedom, and as most politicians are in it for themselves, so where our first politicians. They simply did not wish to keep paying royal taxes. It was about their freedom, not everyone in general, (most of them were slave owners/traders), it was just the byproduct of what they were starting. Sorry to remove the noble brainwashing, but sometimes the truth isn't as flowery as the history books. That being said, it did evolve into a country built upon freedoms, freedoms that are growing all the time. Freedom OF religion, and freedom FROM religion is the most basic of these rights. So, please, stop trying to shove the Christianity version of what this country was based upon. You truly do not have a good position on this. Those folks that you insist were Christian based were not much of a good Christian unless you think it is ok to trade in human flesh, because they did. Fortunately we as a country are trying to evolve past the whole skin color thing, which of course was brought over to this land by those that history credits for discovery, and those who decided to tell a king to take a hike, our founding fathers. There is just so much wrong with the whole based on Christianity thing. If you are going to try to give credit, make sure you point out the flaws too. As for me, freedom from Christianity is something I hold most dear. Peace

  1. Keith Law's Avatar Keith Law

    Our Founders specifically stated that the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.

    The statement was a part of the Treaty of Tripoli that was passed by the 5th Congress and signed into law by John Adams. Thomas Jefferson presided over Congress as the Vice President. If I’m not mistaken it was the first article to be passed unanimously by Congress.

    The reason why Americans don’t know this is because most of American history taught in our schools is right wing propaganda.

    As others on this thread have pointed out, references to God in the pledge and on our money are all about Cold War propaganda: Russian Commies are evil atheists and Americans are holy God fearing people.

    Many of our Founders were Deists, which starting with Aristotle accepted a divine first cause (creator) but no anthropological God that intervenes in human affairs. BTW: Lincoln was also a Deist.

    Look all this up it yourself!

    For more on the Treaty:

    “It was authored by Joel Barlow, an ardent Jeffersonian republican, and signed in Tripoli on November 4, 1796, and at Algiers (for a third-party witness) on January 3, 1797. It was ratified by the United States Senate unanimously without debate on June 7, 1797, taking effect June 10, 1797, with the signature of President John Adams.

    The Treaty is often cited, in discussions regarding the role of religion in United States government, for a clause in Article 11 of the English language American version which states that "the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion."

    Rev Andy

  1. Jeffrey Stoecker's Avatar Jeffrey Stoecker

    This idea that our ancestors were heavily into religion is like the idea that every frontiersman had a six shooter. It's BS. We were all sold the idea of it in movies. Every family had a bible, sure, but in many cases, that's the extent of it.

    Some states, way back, had questions about religious practices on their census. Iowa, I know was one. I found it when doing my family's genealogy. After the U.S. Civil War, less than half of the census respondents responded that they had a religion at all. Plenty of those that did put down that they were "Soul Sleepers" and other transitory tent-show affiliations.

    You don't even have to rely on census data. In the post Civil War decades, just look at the number of churches, multiply by an estimate of their capacity on any given Sunday, and you get a figure that is a fraction of an area's total population.

    If you consider the number of Christian broadcasts there are, satellite networks, websites, and stove-pipe news outlets, the argument can be made that this is religion's hay day -- not its nadir. That it coincides with a high point of polarization and division in our country is a point of concern. It's proof of the wisdom the "Founding Fathers" displayed when they deliberately couched references to the most high in the most vague terms. They acknowledged that something mysterious is there, but left it to each to work out what that something is. That's the message I preach when anybody presses my "minister" button.

  1. William Dusenberry's Avatar William Dusenberry

    As the Rev. Jean Meslier noted, back in 1690, Religion is the opiate of the masses.

    Religion, as Durkheim understood, is a social control mechanism— the only social institution that protects the wealthy, from having their money taken from them, by the poor.

    Trump used the religiously inclined to win the presidency — even though he lost the popular vote by nearly 3,000,000.

    If there is any such thing as the antichrist— it was personified by the fascist Donald Trump.

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