It is often said that the U.S. was founded upon Christian principles, but there is more to this statement than meets the eye. It implies that this country was designed to cater to the desires of Christians. There is sometimes even an undertone that specifies that said Christians should be white.
I will go ahead and answer the question from the title. No, the U.S. is not a Christian nation nor has it ever been one. I will explain my reasoning for this answer later, but I would first like to examine some of the reasons that some people insist that the U.S. is, in fact, a Christian nation.
The assertion that the United States is a Christian nation is a mantra that is used mostly for political reasons. The majority of politicians and political pundits who rally behind the idea that the United States is a Christian country do so simply for the benefit of their party. It typically has little if anything to do with Christianity.
In fact, many of those who argue that our country is Christian are not actually practicing Christians themselves. Politicians are clever, however, and take note of the fact that most of their voters and constituents profess to be Christians. As such, they feel they must market the U.S. as a Christian nation, made for and by Christians, in order to obtain votes.
Asserting that the United States is a Christian nation may also occur as a means of promoting discrimination against other religions and groups of people, particularly Islam and members of the LGBT community. This intolerance is rooted in an intolerance that stems from a fear of differences and dismay at the fact that one cannot control reality. This nation would qualify as a Hip-Hop, Gay or even an Atheist Country, more than it would qualify as a Christian one.
Of course, many people have far more innocuous reasoning for their claims that we live in a Christian nation. They base it on the fact that some of the first settlers were Christian or because we have one of the largest concentrations of people who identify themselves as Christians in the world. This sort of reasoning is still invalid, however.
At this point, you’re probably ready for me to explain why I don’t believe that the United States is a Christian nation. The first and most obvious reason would be the fact that our country was not set up as a theocracy, and both our Constitution and various forms of Civil Rights legislation establishes that our nation is not of any religion.
My second reason is based upon the Bible itself, because it is arguably the Constitution of Christianity. The Bible states that very few people are actually Christian. This is stated quite clearly in the following verse: Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to (Luke 13:24).
This point is further alluded to in Matthew 7:14, which states, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
If the Bible states that few people will make it into heaven and that most people are on the broad road towards destruction, any Christian who lives according to the words of the Bible would be hard-pressed to argue that a country with the population of ours is a Christian nation. The fact that we have 200 million pastors, churchgoers, Rosariers, and others professing to be Christian does not change what the Bible says about how few Christians there really are.
Thirdly, it is essential to the freedoms we enjoy that our nation be secular. As a result, there aren’t many modern societies that are more secular than ours. The Bible asserts that anything outside of Christian culture is considered to be the world or the world system. These terms refer to non-Christians, governments, media, and people and things of that nature.
The U.S. government is a world system that was established by men and not by God or the Bible, so it cannot be embraced as Christian. The Bible even goes as far as saying that Christians should hate anything that is part of the world system. This is exemplified in 1 John 2:15, which advises, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.”
The Bible further explains that true Christians are marked by being few in number and hated by the world, which would be the majority of people. This is explained in John 15:19 which states that, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
So although 83% of Americans say they’re Christian, this is simply impossible according to the Bible. If most people say they are Christians, yet the Bible that defines Christianity says that most people are not Christians, it stands to reason that the majority of Americans who proclaim to be Christian do as a result of ulterior motives.
Fourthly, a Christian’s first allegiance is supposed to be to their God, something that is mentioned in Philippians 3:20 which states that, “Our citizenship is in heaven.” The majority of American Christians seem eager to pledge allegiance to their country and politicize Christianity, which completely contradicts the Bible and makes it all but impossible for them to be true Christians as defined by the Bible.
Lastly, the Bible states that the God of this world is Satan. The United States is very much a part of the world system. In fact, it might even be the face of it. Therefore, Christians who insinuate that this is a Christian nation contradict Bible scripture, something that was touched upon in the following scripture:
There shall be false teachers among you…. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you…
In closing, I would argue that the United States couldn’t be classified as a Christian nation. It seems that American Christianity is, for the most part, a narcissistic smoke screen that is used to cover selfish motives such as greed, discrimination, and power. Unfortunately, the majority of the so-called Christians in this country seem unfamiliar with much of what is written in the Bible.