Is America a Christian Nation?

MattShizzle
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Is America a Christian Nation?

This is another great nontract from the ffrf:

Is America a Christian Nation?

The U.S. Constitution is a secular document. It begins, "We the people," and contains no mention of "God" or "Christianity." Its only references to religion are exclusionary, such as, "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust" (Art. VI), and "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" (First Amendment). The presidential oath of office, the only oath detailed in the Constitution, does not contain the phrase "so help me God" or any requirement to swear on a bible (Art. II, Sec. 1, Clause Cool. If we are a Christian nation, why doesn't our Constitution say so?

In 1797 America made a treaty with Tripoli, declaring that "the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." This reassurance to Islam was written under Washington's presidency, and approved by the Senate under John Adams.

The First Amendment To The U.S. Constitution:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ."
What about the Declaration of Independence?
We are not governed by the Declaration. Its purpose was to "dissolve the political bands," not to set up a religious nation. Its authority was based on the idea that "governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed," which is contrary to the biblical concept of rule by divine authority. It deals with laws, taxation, representation, war, immigration, and so on, never discussing religion at all.

The references to "Nature's God," "Creator," and "Divine Providence" in the Declaration do not endorse Christianity. Thomas Jefferson, its author, was a Deist, opposed to orthodox Christianity and the supernatural.

What about the Pilgrims and Puritans?
The first colony of English-speaking Europeans was Jamestown, settled in 1609 for trade, not religious freedom. Fewer than half of the 102 Mayflower passengers in 1620 were "Pilgrims" seeking religious freedom. The secular United States of America was formed more than a century and a half later. If tradition requires us to return to the views of a few early settlers, why not adopt the polytheistic and natural beliefs of the Native Americans, the true founders of the continent at least 12,000 years earlier?

Most of the religious colonial governments excluded and persecuted those of the "wrong" faith. The framers of our Constitution in 1787 wanted no part of religious intolerance and bloodshed, wisely establishing the first government in history to separate church and state.

Do the words "separation of church and state" appear in the Constitution?
The phrase, "a wall of separation between church and state," was coined by President Thomas Jefferson in a carefully crafted letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802, when they had asked him to explain the First Amendment. The Supreme Court, and lower courts, have used Jefferson's phrase repeatedly in major decisions upholding neutrality in matters of religion. The exact words "separation of church and state" do not appear in the Constitution; neither do "separation of powers," "interstate commerce," "right to privacy," and other phrases describing well-established constitutional principles.

What does "separation of church and state" mean?
Thomas Jefferson, explaining the phrase to the Danbury Baptists, said, "the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions." Personal religious views are just that: personal. Our government has no right to promulgate religion or to interfere with private beliefs.

The Supreme Court has forged a three-part "Lemon test" (Lemon v. Kurtzman, 1971) to determine if a law is permissible under the First-Amendment religion clauses.

A law must have a secular purpose.
It must have a primary effect which neither advances nor inhibits religion.
It must avoid excessive entanglement of church and state.
The separation of church and state is a wonderful American principle supported not only by minorities, such as Jews, Moslems, and unbelievers, but applauded by most Protestant churches that recognize that it has allowed religion to flourish in this nation. It keeps the majority from pressuring the minority.

What about majority rule?
America is one nation under a Constitution. Although the Constitution sets up a representative democracy, it specifically was amended with the Bill of Rights in 1791 to uphold individual and minority rights. On constitutional matters we do not have majority rule. For example, when the majority in certain localities voted to segregate blacks, this was declared illegal. The majority has no right to tyrannize the minority on matters such as race, gender, or religion.

Not only is it unAmerican for the government to promote religion, it is rude. Whenever a public official uses the office to advance religion, someone is offended. The wisest policy is one of neutrality.

Isn't removing religion from public places hostile to religion?
No one is deprived of worship in America. Tax-exempt churches and temples abound. The state has no say about private religious beliefs and practices, unless they endanger health or life. Our government represents all of the people, supported by dollars from a plurality of religious and non-religious taxpayers.

Some countries, such as the U.S.S.R., expressed hostility to religion. Others, such as Iran ("one nation under God"Eye-wink, have welded church and state. America wisely has taken the middle course--neither for nor against religion. Neutrality offends no one, and protects everyone.

The First Amendment deals with "Congress." Can't states make their own religious policies?
Under the "due process" clause of the 14th Amendment (ratified in 1868), the entire Bill of Rights applies to the states. No governor, mayor, sheriff, public school employee, or other public official may violate the human rights embodied in the Constitution. The government at all levels must respect the separation of church and state. Most state constitutions, in fact, contain language that is even stricter than the First Amendment, prohibiting the state from setting up a ministry, using tax dollars to promote religion, or interfering with freedom of conscience.

What about "One nation under God" and "In God We Trust?"
The words, "under God," did not appear in the Pledge of Allegiance until 1954, when Congress, under McCarthyism, inserted them. Likewise, "In God We Trust" was absent from paper currency before 1956. It appeared on some coins earlier, as did other sundry phrases, such as "Mind Your Business." The original U.S. motto, chosen by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson, is E Pluribus Unum ("Of Many, One"Eye-wink, celebrating plurality, not theocracy.

Isn't American law based on the Ten Commandments?
Not at all! The first four Commandments are religious edicts having nothing to do with law or ethical behavior. Only three (homicide, theft, and perjury) are relevant to current American law, and have existed in cultures long before Moses. If Americans honored the commandment against "coveting," free enterprise would collapse! The Supreme Court has ruled that posting the Ten Commandments in public schools is unconstitutional.

Our secular laws, based on the human principle of "justice for all," provide protection against crimes, and our civil government enforces them through a secular criminal justice system.

Why be concerned about the separation of church and state?
Ignoring history, law, and fairness, many fanatics are working vigorously to turn America into a Christian nation. Fundamentalist Protestants and right-wing Catholics would impose their narrow morality on the rest of us, resisting women's rights, freedom for religious minorities and unbelievers, gay and lesbian rights, and civil rights for all. History shows us that only harm comes of uniting church and state.

America has never been a Christian nation. We are a free nation. Anne Gaylor, president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, points out: "There can be no religious freedom without the freedom to dissent."

Matt Shizzle has been banned from the Rational Response Squad website. This event shall provide an atmosphere more conducive to social growth. - Majority of the mod team


KingDavid8
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Is America a Christian Nation?

Except for the "God is just Pretend" in your sig line, I agree with pretty much everything you wrote in that post. No, America is not a Christian nation, and I wouldn't want it to become one. While I trust God and Jesus, I really don't trust most of the Christian leaders in this country, and I think giving them theocratic powers over us would be a huge mistake. The Republican party seems to be the most heavily religious political party, and I find them less and less trustworthy every day. The only time I've voted Republican in my life was when the Democractic option was Jeffrey Feiger.

Has anyone noticed that, at least in modern times, nations that are primarily Christian tend to have better religious freedom than nations that are primarily atheist or primary of some other faith?

David


jester700
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Is America a Christian Nation?

KingDavid8 wrote:

Has anyone noticed that, at least in modern times, nations that are primarily Christian tend to have better religious freedom than nations that are primarily atheist or primary of some other faith?

David


Only if by "some other faith" you mean Islam. Though other nations can lack basic freedoms, that fact isn't generally tied to theism but to the government itself - and this can certainly apply to atheist nations as well.

But historically, christianity can also claim some of the most restrictive and violent behavior.


HealingBlight
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Is America a Christian Nation?

KingDavid8 wrote:
Has anyone noticed that, at least in modern times, nations that are primarily Christian tend to have better religious freedom than nations that are primarily atheist or primary of some other faith?

Odds are that most freedoms that have been won in such places were won in battles aginst people using christianty to keep things restricted, what kind of religion would promote the idea that its not whats best for everyone?

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Re: Is America a Christian Nation?

MattShizzle wrote:

Is America a Christian Nation?

No.

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GrimJesta
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Is America a Christian Nation?

No it isn't. And deism is not a branch of Christianity no matter how someone paints it. The "Creator" that "endowed" our Rights, according to the Founding Fathers, was cartainly not Christian. Deism doesn't believe in:

(a) Revelation.
(b) Prayer.
(c) Resurrection.
(d) Virginal birth.
(e) Sacraments.
(f) The Holy Trinity/Jesus as Savior.

Of course, those are the core foundations that seperate Christianity into a seperate religion, so to deny those things is to.... not be Christian. Deism is about as Christian as I am.

-=Grim=-

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Know Nyarlathotep, No Peace.


jsr3000
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Is America a Christian Nation?

America is not and never was a Christian nation.


Anonymous
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Is America a Christian Nation?

The end of the Constitution records the year of its ratification, "the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven." Although, indeed, it uses the word "Lord", it does not refer to Jesus but rather to the dating method. Incredibly, some Christians attempt to use this as justification for a Christian derived Constitution. The term simply conveys a written English form of the Latin, Anno Domini (AD), which means the year of our Lord (no, it does not mean After Death). This scripted form served as a common way of dating in the 1700s. The Constitution also uses many pagan words such as January (from the two-headed Roman god, Janus), and Sunday (from the word Sunne, which refers to the Saxon Sun god). Can you imagine the ludicrous position of someone trying to argue for the justification of a pagan god based Constitution? The same goes to any Christian who attempts to use a dating convention as an argument against the Constitution's secular nature, and can only paint himself as naive, or worse, as dishonest and deceiving.

Source: Wikipedia: B.C.


the_avenging_bucket
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Is America a Christian Nation?

KingDavid8 wrote:
No, America is not a Christian nation, and I wouldn't want it to become one. While I trust God and Jesus, I really don't trust most of the Christian leaders in this country, and I think giving them theocratic powers over us would be a huge mistake. The Republican party seems to be the most heavily religious political party, and I find them less and less trustworthy every day.

:smt023


MarkRitchie
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Is America a Christian Nation?

no it is not but it could be the way things are going now i would not be suprised if it ended up being one


MattShizzle
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Is America a Christian Nation?

Let's hope not. Sad


random_antitheist
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Is America a Christian Nation?

well it sure is endorsing Christianity. like the recent ban on stem cells or opposition to gay marriage. lol if god wants u to die u better die. Laughing out loud

Atheists never carbomb.


Anonymous
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Is America a Christian Nation?

KingDavid8 wrote:

Has anyone noticed that, at least in modern times, nations that are primarily Christian tend to have better religious freedom than nations that are primarily atheist or primary of some other faith?

David

It is the secular nature of the United States government that allows the freedom for people to pursue happiness however they'd like, as long as they do not infringe on others from their pursuit of happiness.

You will find no secular or atheist group attempting to ban Christianity, or any other religion from American society. Keeping religion separate allows atheists and religionists alike, to practice their belief systems, regardless how ridiculous they may seem, without government intervention.

The problems that we see in this country (oppression of gay rights, stemcell research, evolution, women's rights, prayer in school, etc.) most always stem from Christians trying to throw this country back into the Dark Ages.

The idea of having the freedom to believe what you want is a secular, not a religious, one.


First Amendment:

Congress shall make NO law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.


Darl
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Is America a Christian Nation?

So what? The first nation to have total religious freedom was genghis khan and the mongol empire. So much for the benevolance of christians over other people.


KSMB
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Is America a Christian Nation?

KingDavid8 wrote:

Has anyone noticed that, at least in modern times, nations that are primarily Christian tend to have better religious freedom than nations that are primarily atheist or primary of some other faith?

David

When you say primarily Christian (other faith or atheist), do you mean the majority of people, politics of the government or legislative interpretation of the laws?


JB_Montag
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Is America a Christian Nation?

Quote:
Has anyone noticed that, at least in modern times, nations that are primarily Christian tend to have better religious freedom than nations that are primarily atheist or primary of some other faith?

I'm going to assume, that when you mentioned primarily atheist nations, you are reffering to communist governments. Their oppresion has to do with communism and not atheism.

In communist countries, primary authority rests with the state. It's the state, that insures fairness and equitable division of resources in theory. Religion being divisive by nature, with its absolutist concepts, is suppressed to maintain power.

The paper read yesterday, the earth exploded, nobody noticed the passing of this hapless planet.


KSMB
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I got into this a bit over

I got into this a bit over at a christian forum. What I can't believe is that this woman complains about my attitude, and about me ignoring facts...

Quote:
KSMB wrote:
Allowing influence of christianity violates the establishment clause of the 1st amendment.

Are you willfully ignorant, or are you just the victim of public schools?

The First Amendment states that there shall be no establishment of religion - by which they meant a state church of a particular denomination. (There were no Buddhists or Bahais or even Muslims running around America at that time! Religion to them meant one's denomination.) Also, the First Amendment goes on to say that Congress shall make no law abridging the free exercise of religion. That means that Congress can not bar religion from the public square. And the founders certainly did not do this.

I know that your public school textbooks scrubbed the Founders' words of anything that hints of faith in God, but if you read their original words, you will see references to God, to Providence (the current term that meant God), etc. throughout.

I'm sorry to be harsh, but I can't believe your attitude. It's not based on facts; it seems only to be based on hostility to Christians.

here is the thread. Please tell me if I made mistakes.
http://forums.crosswalk.com/m_1559621/mpage_1/key_/tm.htm#1567929


MattShizzle
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She is very ignorant.

She is very ignorant.