Thursday, February 25, 2016

America Used to be a Christian Nation

Before the 1960s and the Vietnam War generation, America was a Christian nation. According to Gallup polling, beginning in 1980, when the children who protested against the Vietnam War and indulged in the sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll philosophy became the establishment, the percentage of the population who considered themselves Christian began shrinking from a high of 91% in 1970 to 61% in 2015. Today, history is being rewritten to maintain that the Christian values of charity, respect, and personal responsibility on which the nation was originally built never happened.

The proponents of the argument that the USA was never a Christian nation point to the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution and say there is no reference in either to God, Jesus, or any religious deity. They refer to the Treaty of Tripoli which stated that the government of the USA was not in any way founded on the Christian religion. They point to a remark by Thomas Jefferson to question everything, even God. All these statements are true. All are based in fact. However, they miss a critical point of the argument.

Government, politics, and religion should never be intertwined. When they are, you end up with a theocracy that inevitably leads to atrocity and massacre of entire populations. Ethnic cleaning. Elimination of the infidel. Horrors unimaginable. The Founding Fathers recognized this. As they were drafting the US Constitution, clerical wars were waging in Europe between Catholics and Protestants. Laws were passed persecuting Catholics and riots broke out over personal faith. Little wonder the Founding Fathers wanted to insure that religion would not figure directly in the design of the fledgling country's government.

But that doesn't preclude the fact that Christian values were an integral part of the structure on which the USA was built.

"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..." Those very rights are protected by the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the US Constitution. 
The Bill of Rights does not spell out the rights allowed to the citizen by the government. They forbid the US government from restricting the rights given by the Creator. Although religion was not to be playing a direct role in the government, the concepts of fairness, charity, and personal dignity common to all Christian faiths would still be reflected.
However, as the years went by, those very rights have been infringed, restricted, and sometimes abridged to the point they no longer exist. No time in this nation's history has this been so evident as recently. 

America is no longer a Christian nation. Kindness and charity are ridiculed. Personal respect is ignored. Self-esteem is denigrated as selfishness. The individual is defined by the state as someone who belongs to the state, a piece of political property. We have all become cogs in a massive, impersonal machine.

God help us all.