Wednesday, 05 September 2012 20:44

Are We a Christian Nation?

Written by  Bob Crittendon
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A recent survey provides some material for consideration about our nation’s history and our current condition. A select group participated in the June 2012 Evangelical Leaders Survey, commissioned by the National Association of Evangelicals. Some 68 percent of those surveyed agreed that America is not a Christian nation, while 32 said it is. Of the 32 percent who said the United States is a Christian nation, most indicated that they did so because the U.S. was founded with Christian principles or because there are more Christians in the nation than followers of any other religion.

 


The head of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, Representative Randy Forbes, attempted to address the question on whether or not the United States is a Christian nation when he posed two questions on the House floor. The first question dealt with whether or not we ever considered ourselves a Judeo-Christian nation. And, the second question referred to identifying the moment in time where we ceased to be a Christian nation, if indeed we were.

Eloquently laying out a brief history of our nation’s faith foundation, Forbes made mention of the 1892 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Holy Trinity Church vs. United States, in which the court “indicated, after recounting the long history of faith in this country, that we were a Christian nation.” The Representative contended that we have indeed not ceased to be a nation founded on Judeo-Christian principles: “…they can rip that word (reference to God) off of all of our buildings and still those Judeo-Christian principles are so interwoven in a tapestry of freedom and liberty, that to begin to unravel one is to unravel the other.”

There is misunderstanding today about what it means to be a Christian nation. There are those who would expect such a nation to look like a theocracy, where the priests or pastors are in charge and everyone is forced to practice one particular brand of religion. That is not, and never has been, the America we know – those involved in the founding of our nation had a diverse religious background and were dedicated to religious freedom. They were averse to establishing a state church. But, it is very apparent that the principles of faith were built into the precepts of freedom.

I believe that America has been blessed and sustained because of our deep religious faith and an emphasis on moral character. Many recognize that our nation is on a course away from the principles of God. I sense a growing hostility toward people of faith, and a lack of knowledge, or forgetfulness, about the role of faith in our nation’s history.

That’s unfortunate. Our nation is facing challenges today that can only be solved by the hand of God. However, when so many influential people, including corporate and governmental leaders, and people in media who communicate a worldview contrary to our Christian principles, are not recognizing the potential of Godly wisdom, we find ourselves in a precarious position.

Such a lack of understanding caused some to take issue with the head of Chick-Fil-A, Dan Cathy, when he defended the Biblical definition of marriage on a radio program: “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’”

To me, this brought to mind the words spoken by a famous American almost 150 years ago: “But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.”

That was part of President Lincoln’s proclamation on a national day of prayer and fasting in 1863. We have indeed collectively, as a nation, forgotten God. Many do not revere or embrace the Christian principles upon which we were formed. And, I believe that our nation in general is paying the price. I believe that Scripture shows us how God does deal in the lives of nations – witness the supplications made by Solomon on behalf of his people, or Daniel, who stood in the gap and confessed national sins.

Lincoln also said, “…it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the LORD’S side.” That is our challenge today, and it should motivate us as Christians to intercede like never before for our nation, its leaders, and its future, that we might return to a new reverence of God and His ways - cornerstones for this nation, a Christian nation; not to the exclusion of anyone, but that all may enjoy liberty because we have aligned ourselves with Almighty God.
 

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