US is not a Christian Nation

Shortly after the news of Osama Bin Laden's death and the Navy Seals were deservedly being congratulated on a job well done, there was a relatively rare moment when the country came together to celebrate the notion that justice had been done. And it wasn't just in the US alone that the same sentiment was found. Bin Laden's death was celebrated by many people in different counties.

US unanimous in its approval of Bin Laden's death

It seems almost incredulous that anyone would question that justice was not being served when Bin Laden was shot. Certainly some might make a case that international treaties and laws were broken by the raid on Bin Laden's compound, but there is still a sense that sometimes almost any lengths are justified to mete out justice in cases where men such as Bin Laden enjoy life free from any consequences for their murderous crimes. And I am one of those who cheered at the news and feel justice was indeed being served as the first Navy Seal's bullets struck their mark.

In 2007 the Atheist Alliance International Convention picked an atheist symbol from a select list.
In 2007 the Atheist Alliance International Convention picked an atheist symbol from a select list. | Source

Even Republicans and Democrats all agreed that Bin Laden's execution was both justified and a good thing although, predictably, both parties argued as to who deserved most of the credit. And why would anyone question whether justice was being served?

What is the Christian view?

Some who are religious turn to the Pope, their priests, ministers or churches to see what view God has on such matters whereas others turn directly to the Bible to read an unfiltered view of things. Certainly the Old Testament is full of notions of justice that recommends revenge. But Christianity is based on Jesus' teaching that replaced the Ten Commandments with just two:

“[Jesus], which is the great commandment in the law?” And he said to him, ’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22:36

And what about revenge, in particular?

“But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” Matthew 5:39

Certainly Jesus doesn't recommend revenge as the best course to follow when we have been wronged. And to pretend that Jesus' words can be interpreted as an endorsement of the policy of revenge on either individuals or nations is torturing both his words and the clear intent of his teaching. Even a statement by the Pope essentially emphasized Bin Laden's evil deeds and hoped some good rather than hatred would come as a result of his death was not suggestive of a response that Christ might have given.

Revenge is only wrong to Christians – most of us recognize its role as part of justice

What made Jesus' teaching so remarkable was that it was radical in many ways. Traditionally, the Jews and most peoples then and since have felt that justice often demanded retaliatory action. The usual view follows notions found in the Old Testament rather than the New.

“Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” Deuteronomy 19:21

We rejoice when revenge is extracted on our enemies

When the Navy Seals struck at Bin Laden, they represented both the US and our values. They performed their duty admirably and were hailed for completing their mission well. We are a nation that believes in retaliation – the idea that no pity should be shown to its enemy – and there is a strong argument that it is both sensible and ethical. On hearing the news of Bin Laden's death, Americans spontaneously gathered to celebrate the news at Ground Zero and Times Square in New York, and outside the White House in Washington.

It seems disingenuous to continue to make the argument that the US is a Christian nation when the country almost universally celebrates the death of one of its enemies as a result of a mission. It is a good thing we have one less enemy and we should stop pretending that we are a Christian nation and acknowledge that often revenge is a built-in component of justice. To pretend we are a Christian nation is not to properly understand the Constitution, our history or the New Testament. Like all nations and most men, we rejoice when revenge is a component of justice and is extracted on our enemies.

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Comments 45 comments

Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

I found the entire thing revolting. Not only do I not really believe in any of the official 9/11 stories, I also know that it is, in fact, illegal for any U.S. President, even a black one, to authorize an assassination.

But that is what happened. Obama should be on trial for treason for approving an extension of the "patriot act," and he should also be impeached for this illegal assassination.

We gave the Nazis due process at Nuremberg, did we not?

Why did we not give Osama the same due process? After all, even if he were guilty as charged - he'd still be far less the killer than many of the Nazis.

Please don't say, "Unanimous." Nobody asked me, and I damn sure don't approve of Obama's assassination of Osama.


Fay Paxton 5 years ago

Excellent and insightful article, as always. While I understand the celebratory feelings that swept over the country when Bin Laden's fate was announced, I must admit that I find I am personally conflicted. While on one hand I don't feel there were any other options, I have an issue with capital punishment.

In the final analysis, I can certainly live with the decision that was made, I'm just glad I didn't have to make it.

up/awesome


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

I do not believe in revenge. I might be inclined to put Cheney to the guillotine but not because of what he did. No, Dick should perhaps be neutralized just so he cannot do any further damage - sort of like going after Saddam's WMDs, as a precautionary action.

I would like Bush the Second to stand trial for war crimes not because I want him to pay for what he did but to show others who may intend on starting wars for personal profit, that the world will not stand for it.

It is more as a deterrent that I think there should be consequences to criminal actions.

And I agree with you: the United States is not a Christian Nation.


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

Thank you for your viewpoint Wesman Todd Shaw; I have a lot of respect for it. Up until recently I would have shared your viewpoint. I think the whole Bin Laden incident liberated me from the notion that we should always forgive our enemies and not want revenge. I suppose I have seen the wicked prosper too often and suspect that if they escape justice in this world they may not necessarily receive it later.


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

Hi Fay:

I can well understand you feeling conflicted - I think that is how I started out. I suppose I have always wanted to be a good person and that included being the kind of person that believed revenge to be an unworthy and unethical position. I suppose I have always believed that it was not possible to hold the two positions simultaneously. If I am right about that then I have taken a step towards the dark side as a result of changing my viewpoint!


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

Hi Mr Happy: I suspect neither of the first two comments endorse the view that the US is a Christian nation. So far it does not seem to be too many who feel that it is.

And it seems that Bush, Cheney and several others are guilty of bringing about an unimaginable amount of death, destruction and misery as well as squandering America's treasure pursuing personal ambition rather than its welfare in an immoral and ill-founded war. I am surprised more people are not seeking justice in the way you suggest. History has generally taken a pretty poor view of leaders who have lied in order to bring their nations to war. Again, it does not suggest the actions of a Christian nation.


William R. Wilson profile image

William R. Wilson 5 years ago from Knoxville, TN

Good job - even if some would argue that we are a Christian nation by tradition, we are certainly not one by our actions.

Like you, I think the killing of Osama was justified. I can accept violence in some instances. I was arrested protesting the Iraq invasion - but I feel that the Afghan war was fully justified on a moral level - I hate the Taliban. Whether it was strategically sound or not is another issue.

I'm glad to have stumbled across your writings.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Sembj, I followed you in commenting that hub that claimed that the U.S. was a Christian nation.

I might have gotten out of line over there - I ended by stating that I wondered if the author was insane.

We create widows and orphans world wide as a product of doing business. This nation is more Satanic than anything else.


tony0724 profile image

tony0724 5 years ago from san diego calif

US is a christian nation !


Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

Sembj - You are absolutely right. This article is wonderful! While I live in a nation that respects my freedom to worship as I choose (and I choose to be a Christian), I do not live in a nation that honors those same beliefs - or practices them - on a grand scale. I do not fault our government for this - I'd rather they stay out my religion/faith choices. But, it often should be reiterated that the Christian God does not have a covenant with the US, rather with the people of Israel. And, that doesn't mean the nation/state of Israel as it exists today, but those who followed His commands before and after Christ came, and those Gentiles to whom He extended that mercy.

Well done! Up, useful, and awesome.


White Horse 5 years ago

I've seen the eye for an eye, now we can wait and see what tooth for a tooth. k9 !


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

Thank you for your comments William R. Wilson. And I think that your argument for the US being a Christian nation by tradition has much merit although I am glad you added the rider!

The Afghan War is an interesting case. My sense is that our eye got taken off the ball. My memory is that the original mission was mostly about getting Bin Laden but very quickly the Iraq War loomed and the Afghan expedition became the forgotten war. A lot of good will and opportunities were lost because of poor planning and goal setting in the first year or two. If the war had been prosecuted properly and more done to stop corruption, the Taliban would not have been able to return in the way they have. It seems people will throw out corrupt regimes when they are ready, too much foreign intervention proves problematic more often than not. As things stand, it is a hard choice to know what should be done. To continue to support the remaking of Afghanistan will continue to cost lives and treasure over many years without a certain outcome. My sense is that folk are weary of foreign adventures however well meaning or necessary they may have seemed at the time.


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

Hi Wesman Todd Shaw, it is sometimes difficult to remain civil if aware of much of the harm inflicted by American foreign policy in the past few decades. It is a policy that seems primarily designed to benefit corporate America, (like many domestic policies), rather than the general population.

I believe many would be truly shocked by the truth of many a foreign adventure including overthrowing one or two properly elected democracies in South America. In the end many of us believe what we want to believe whatever reason or reasonable people tell us. I believe it is one of our greatest flaws that needs to fought with self-knowledge. Unfortunately, I believe self-knowledge to be one of the rarest of human attributes.

Our culture will increasingly test our own sanity, I fear. Thanks for your interesting addition to the conversation.


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

Thank you tony0724 for your assertion that "the US is a Christian nation." I could assert that we are a nation that worships Poseidon but that does not make it so. I feel that you have to come up with something more than a mere contradiction in a comment for it to be meaningful although I appreciate you reading the article, if you read it. Your comment suggests that you merely contradicted something without having read it. I hope I am wrong since it would seem to be an act of deceit whatever one's belief system if I am correct.

I will be delighted to deal with any specific objection - particularly one that indicated you had read the article.

I hope I am not being rude but it does seem a little strange to just post an assertion that contradicts an article without any further explanation.

Stay well.


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

MotowntoChitown thank you for your intelligent and honest comment. I believe you are quite reasonable and rational - and also a Christian. It seemed to me that Christians should generally find little to disagree with in what I say but, none-the-less I thought many might. Democracies clearly benefit from the separation of church and state and it is troublesome that many seem to want to breach that sensible demarcation.

Thank you for your valuable contribution to the discussion.


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

Thank you brother White Horse - and is the time of the tooth when the rocks cry?


Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

I think the biggest issue with Christians who are desperate to believe that the US is a Christian nation is that we are, in fact, a democratic republic, and as such, governed by laws. BUT, while some of those laws may have biblical histories and undertones, that does NOT mean that it was intended for the government of this nation to espouse a Biblical (Christian) creed. And, I wouldn't be surprised to see that this longer this hub remains public, the more disagreement you ARE likely to see from Christians. Peace!


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico

In Britain we wake every day thinking, "Thank goodness for the United States!!"

If it were not for the generosity and bravery of US servicemen we would all be speaking German here. And the might of the US is all that keeps the Islamic hordes from our necks.

Viva America! Bob


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

Thanks Motown2Chitown and I had hoped to challenge what I see is the dichotomy in the thinking of some Christians. Rationally it is troubling that Christians would want America and its policies to be thought reflective of Christian values when they are obviously contradictory on many occasions. I would have thought that Christians would be quite supportive of the view that America should not be thought of as a Christian country.

I will be interested to see why Christians will disagree; I enjoy exchanging ideas and I am often genuinely surprised at the quality of some of the conversations. Most comments following this article have made some useful and excellent points. I welcome the article being challenged on reasonable grounds and look forward to some healthy criticism!

As I have made clear elsewhere, I have a great deal of sympathy for some key Christian concepts but feel people of religion should not be allowed to practice hypocrisy any more than politicians and any others who claim moral leadership.

Again, many thanks for your sound views.

Peace and love.


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

diogenes - you are quite right about Americans limiting both the amount of German and Japanese that is spoken in the world. WWII defended the ideals of Western democracy rather than Christendom. Christendom was remarkably silent about the behavior of Nazis even during the war itself so it cannot be regarded as a holy war!

It seems that many Islamics have been welcomed into Europe in the past and many blame much of the radicalization in Europe on Bush's ill considered "Crusade" remarks as well as his equally ill conceived policies in Iraq and the Middle East.

Many terrorists in the UK seem to have been born there. Are US servicemen keeping the Afghanistans at bay?

Thanks for your comment and I hope I hear how the US is protecting the UK from the Islamic hordes.


Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

Sembj - I love the conversations that tend to pop up in the comments on great articles like this one. Personally, I have this disagreement even with my husband on occasion. He believes (to a point) that the US is a Christian nation. I disagree (as we've established). But, what it boils down to for me is that I don't need my government to defend my faith or to propagate it. I need my government to defend the sovereignty of my nation, defend its borders, and be solicitous for the well being of all its citizens. I also need my government to allow every member of my nation to practice or believe whatever they choose (or DON'T choose) as far as religion is concerned.


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

Motown2Chitown: I guess there was a reason why subjects like politics, religion and sex were not meant to be discussed around polite dinner tables since there can be quite violent disagreements even among families. Really, these and other topics that engender disagreement are the most interesting ones for exactly that reason.

I try to remain open enough to let the discussion be useful. Often when defending an argument, I have found or noticed a weakness that might not even have been brought to my attention. It might lead to an improvement in my argument or abandoning a previously held position. As I say, my thinking on vengeance has gone through quite a rethink although I am still not entirely comfortable with my new position.

Please give my best to your husband - I suspect you have some lively and interesting discussions from what you've said. It is a pity that you both can't give seminars on how to disagree on important topics and still like and even love each other!


Tony DeLorger profile image

Tony DeLorger 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

Excellent point Sem. What happens as a result of our ideals of justice does not necessarily agree with religious teachings. That is why politics and religion should never be connected. The reality is that as times change we all end up being hypocrits of some kind, our understandings and beliefs evolving with the times. For governments to stand as Christian or anything else is ludicrous. Well written and to the point. Great hub as always.


chefsref profile image

chefsref 5 years ago from Citra Florida

Excellent Sem.

As Ghandi said I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. If this were truly a Christian nation we would not be debating whether to give tax breaks to the rich and business while taking benefits away from the poor. The people who most loudly proclaim their Christianity here are the most ant-Christian among us. Hate is apparently more powerful and easily manipulated than love.

As for celebrating Bin Laden's death, I am reminded of how I felt seeing people in the Middle East celebrate the destruction and death at the World Trade Center. Justified or not we should not celebrate killing, still I think Obama made the right decision and it was a courageous call to make.

Up and Awesome on this


upal19 profile image

upal19 5 years ago from Dhaka

It is not the revenge. This was a mandatory to stop the demon who was continuously planning for perpetual attacks on humans. This was not revenge. More lives are saved by this action. Congratulations SEALS.


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

Thanks Tony: I wish I could say things as succinctly and wisely as you. Your observations always offer insight and warmth and are much appreciated.

Is celebrating an enemy's death barbarous? It seemed that bringing Bin Laden to justice was one of the main focus's of foreign policy for some years. The apparent evidence of further planning for attack's in Bin Laden's compound seems to suggest he was still very much acting in the role of an enemy combatant. Too often old men order young men, (and now young women too), off to do their bidding and their death. These old men are rarely held responsible.

Ideally old, (and anyone else), who master-mind the deaths of others either in terrorist attacks or illegal and immoral acts that bring countries to wars should be held responsible whether they live in Pakistan or the US.


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

Hi chefsref: thanks for the good quote from Ghandi.

Is celebrating an enemy's death barbarous? However we may despise war and military conflict, once the enemy is engaged it is hard to persuade your country that it is not a contest. The country is committed.

It seemed that bringing Bin Laden to justice was one of the main focus's of foreign policy for some years and even used as the excuse for invading Afghanistan.

The apparent evidence of further planning for attack's in Bin Laden's compound seems to suggest he was still very much acting in the role of an enemy combatant. Too often old men order young men, (and now young women too), off to do their bidding and their death. These old men are rarely held responsible.

Ideally old men, (and anyone else), who master-mind the deaths of others either in terrorist attacks or illegal and immoral acts that bring countries to wars should be held responsible whether they live in Pakistan or the US.

Having said all of the above, I remain sympathetic to the viewpoints that find celebrating revenge troublesome. The point is mainly made just to demonstrate that the US is not a Christian country.

Perhaps not being a Christian country does not mean that we can't view topics from perspectives that are agreeable to most Christians. However, revenge and its role in justice is not an easy riddle.


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

Hi upal19: I think we can describe the attack on Bin Laden as you have; and that viewpoint is valid. However, apparently the intelligence agency had told Bush and others that Bin Laden was no longer a threat - something Bush made public. At the time of the attack, it seemed motivated because it was stated policy to hunt the man down - fair enough. We didn't have trouble with the motivation then and only Christians should have at the time or now. And they have been mute for the most part.

It seems that Christians have to accept a dichotomy in their thinking if they are patriotic. Sometimes their country does things that are consistent with the New Testament as in peace keeping missions and missions of aid in such places as Haiti; and sometimes their country does a number of things that are in clear contradiction. Christians and non-Christians have every right and perhaps even a duty to be concerned about the ethical and moral standards of a country's policies at both home an abroad. And, in particular, they should be careful not to be hypocritical. The US may have many Christian citizens but its policies often contravene Christian teaching so it seems difficult to argue that it is a Christian nation if it does not behave like one.


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

Hi upal19 - I have been thinking about what you have said some more. Even if it was necessary to kill Bin Laden for all the reasons you state, it still does not explain the pretty well unanimous celebratory mood of the country. I think I tried to argue that rejoicing in the downfall and death even of an enemy is not a behavior encouraged by Christ - his recommendations seem to suggest an altogether different demeanor.

Thanks again for your thoughts!


upal19 profile image

upal19 5 years ago from Dhaka

Well, Sembj, I think it too that it was not Christian's rejoicing. This is alright that any Christian can't rejoice on enemy's fall. It was that success for which the nation was paying for long and the enemy was a self confessed. An innocent can't hide himself. Any non patriotic person may rejoice on his nation's success. In that sense we can judge it not religiously.

I too thank you for taking my comment in account.


Wil C profile image

Wil C 5 years ago from United States of America

I completely take your view that the majority of America's sentiment was, we got the guy who orchestrated a malicious crime against our nation by using civilian aircrafts to commit kamikaze missions on our National Monuments. As far as America being a Christian nation, we need only look at separation of church and state. We are not a theocracy, thank god. We see and have studied what theocracies do to keep their subjects in order. As far I am concerned this was not revenge, rather it was justice against a criminal. No borders should ever protect such criminals.


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

Thanks for your comment Wil C - I think that many of the comments seem to suggest that their authors are very uncomfortable to have the component of revenge acknowledged to be part of a system of justice. Perhaps that should be the focus of a new article because it is a difficult topic that few can pretend to know the complete answer.

Hope to exchange some more viewpoints - thanks,

Sem


THAT Mary Ann 5 years ago

This is a wonderfully wise and straightforward hub. RE: vengeance, I once told the Canon Lawyer defending me that maybe when the Lord said, "Vengeance is mine," He was saving the best thing for himself!

(Voted Up. Hope to see you reading and rating my hubs soon as well.)


Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

Mary Ann, that's beautiful...I can only imagine that you were being defended by a canon lawyer during an annulment proceeding, and I am so grateful that you deflected his very WEAK platitude with a very strong statement such as that one. Blessings and peace!


Wil C profile image

Wil C 5 years ago from United States of America

You are correct in saying few can pretend to know completely the inner working of the human mind. The key word was "pretend", leaving us only with no one can know the answer completely to whether or not revenge is a component of justice. I believe it is more about teaching a lesson, but I guess even that could be viewed as vengeful. Like Socrates said, each conclusion always leads to another question.


credence2 5 years ago

We have behaved here more like one would behave at a sports event, or much like one would behave at an ancient Roman colosseum. There is the underlying problem of global terrorism that is not go be eliminated through the death of one man and has shown itself as not being adequately addressed with military solutions. There is justice, but I don't see revenge as component of it. In the meantime, we have spilled buckets of blood and emptied the treasury for just revenge? That kind of stuff only happens in the movies.

As always, Sem Great Hub!!


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

Thanks Wil C for your additional thoughts on justice. And I suspect that many are struck that it is a difficult concept to view without recognizing that,like it or not, there is a component of vengeance!


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

Hi and thanks to THAT Mary Ann - and Motown2Chitown too:

First THAT Mary Ann for a wonderful, wise and witty story and second for Motown2Chitwon for a response that says everything far better than I could.

Peace to both of you,

Sem


kwade tweeling profile image

kwade tweeling 5 years ago from USA

I read about half way through the comments here before I decided I just had to place a comment already. There have been many great observations expressed here.

I was amused to see that your argument against us being a Christian nation revolved primarily around vengeance. I have been musing for years that it seems as though Wrath is one of the most prevalent traits Christian nations seem to express. So that is something I cannot use as a reason we are not.

I wrote a hub all about the death of Bin Laden. As someone else said earlier; I was reminded of the celebrations of the twin towers going down. I understand the desire to celebrate the demise of an enemy, and in fact have done so in the past. But to truly grow into peace myself, I find holding onto that hate, does not bring me closer to peace. If you want more of my thoughts on that, you know how to find them.

I think to call ourselves a "Christian nation", is like calling ourselves a "car nation", or an "oil nation", or a "fluffy cotton nation", or even a "video game nation". It is just not sensible because we are laying this blanket ideal as the way to define all who live here. In our very essence we are supposed to be a nation of diversity. To define us as a ____ nation seems absurd to me. Unless maybe it is a "diverse nation".

Oh, almost forgot; Voted up and thank you for your thoughts.


TravelinAsia profile image

TravelinAsia 5 years ago from Thailand/Southeast Asia

What about the drone attacks in Pakistan, killing "suspected" terrorists? Certainly nobody can claim that these killings are 100% accurate, without error, only killing the intended targets. The fact that the US conducts killings using robotic aircraft is like a scene from an early 80s horror film (the first terminator movie). How on earth can any Christian justify this kind of killing? It is shocking!


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

Thank you kwade tweeling and TravelinAsia for your comments and I apologize for not replying sooner. However, I have not had a chance to get to HubPages for sometime. Hopefully I will be in a position to spend some time on the site and reply more sensibly to your comments as well as do a little more writing.

In the meantime, all the best, Sem


chefsref profile image

chefsref 5 years ago from Citra Florida

Hey Sem

Recent events at Republican debates show how deeply our nation holds its Christian beliefs. Cheers for the executions in Texas and "Let him die" for the uninsured were not Christian cheers. If Christ was to come to America now he would be rejected by our Christian nation


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago Author

Thanks for the comment chefsref - yep, it is hard to know whether to laugh or cry in the face of such hypocrisy.


Bibowen profile image

Bibowen 4 years ago

You commented on my article a few months ago, so I thought I'd read yours and return the favor. I gather the thrust of your argument is that (1) America took revenge on bin Laden, (2) Revenge is not Christian, so (3) America cannot be Christian. In short, I don't think these objections are insurmountable.

First, revenge is not necessarily Unchristian. Romans 13 allows for state actors to be "revengers" and a "terror" to criminals. In fact, Romans 13 suggests that this is a central function of civil authority. A Christian (like myself) can be saddened that someone like bin Laden has chosen the life that he has, yet be glad that justice was meted against him (especially if he showed no signs of repenting).

Second, even the Old Testament taught the principle that one should not seek private revenge. I have a hub on the death penalty that explains all of this. Private revenge is denounced in both the OT and NT.

Third, no one is claiming that America is a Christian nation in every respect. If that were the essential criteria, we could classify few things based on the criteria that that they had to be wholly one thing or another. When we say that America is "a land of freedom" we don't ever mean that it is free for all or that freedom is perfectly realized, but only that, comparatively, America is a free nation and that that principle is prominent in shaping who we are as a people.

Next, it depends on what we mean when we say that "America is a Christian nation." Theologian Wayne Grudem has identified at least eight "senses" in which the phrase is used. When I use it, I certainly do not mean that everyone is a Christian or that the actions of our leaders are Christian. Rather, I consider the conceptual frameworks in which the American nation was berthed. Christianity was one such framework as was individualism, self-reliance, independence, limited government, rationality, republicanism, and others.

In my hub, when I say that America is a Christian nation, I give several examples of cultural features that reflect Christianity's influence. These cultural features (like "In God We Trust" or chaplains praying in the Senate) do not "make" us Christian; rather, they are simply the byproducts of a people that are Christian or have been influenced by a Christian milieu and thereby act Christian in certain respects.


Sembj profile image

Sembj 4 years ago Author

I suspect a lot of differences in our perspective is our differing views as to what "Christian" actually means. Generally, I feel that "Christian" means to practice the teachings of Christ rather than to refer to the Old Testament or other authorities in the church. For instance, Jesus directly contradicts key aspects of the Old Testament such as an "Eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" becomes "Turn the other cheek" in the New Testament. It would be absurd to suggest that Christianity hasn't influenced and continues to influence most Western cultures in particular but that does not make them Christian nations.

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