A Christian Nation, A Christian President

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  October 3, 2007 — 3 Comments

Republican Presidential hopeful John McCain caused controversy this week by stating his belief that America was founded on “Christian” principles, and that he would hesitate to elect a non-Christian to office.

“I just have to say in all candor that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles…. personally, I prefer someone who I know who has a solid grounding in my faith … I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation. But I say that in the broadest sense. The lady that holds her lamp beside the golden door doesn’t say, “I only welcome Christians.” We welcome the poor, the tired, the huddled masses. But when they come here they know that they are in a nation founded on Christian principles.”

While the criticism towards this rather narrow view of American history is warranted, Heathen blogger Hrafnkell points out that a large number of people believe exactly what McCain said:

“McCain only represents a very visible manifestation of a much more serious and widespread problem. That 55% of Americans think the United States was founded as a Christian nation and cite the Constitution as proof of this, we are in trouble. And this demonstrates how effective the big lie can be.”

Sadly, McCain’s Christian-centric view of America isn’t unique from either party. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton is a member of the overwhelmingly conservative (and secretive) Christian organization “The Fellowship”, which seeks to bring Jesus back to Capitol Hill, and Christian-oriented “God-talk” has been a dominant theme in the race to the White House.

“This effort is apparent on the stump, where many of the Democratic candidates speak openly of religion and God and present moral justifications for their policies. It’s also going on behind the scenes, with presidential campaigns hiring strategists to coordinate their outreach to religious communities and holding weekly conference calls with religious leaders.”

We still live in a country where the election of a Muslim Congressman who doesn’t want to swear in on the Bible causes controversy, where Pagans who do participate in the political process risk being “outed” by their political opponents, where a Hindu is shouted down in the Senate and not a single candidate decries the action, and where a debate on indigenous issues is blown off by all of the Democratic front-runners. The message to religious minorities is clear: you aren’t valued, and we will pander almost exclusively to Christian voters in order to win.

None of this is to say I expect Obama or Giuliani to start pressing flesh at Pagan festivals. I understand that a clear majority of people in America identify as Christian, but I do want to see more talk about the Separation of Church and State and less talk about how awesome they think Jesus is. Otherwise, it becomes difficult to know who is merely expressing a personal belief, and who is establishing a mandate for a Christian-led society. It is clear we will be electing a Christian President in 2008, but we must be ever-vigilant that it won’t be as the executive of a “Christian Nation”.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • Steve B, UK

    Thomas Jefferson was an interesting guy. I know very little, but some of the more intriguing quotes include:“Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add “within the limits of the law,” because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.” –Thomas Jefferson, 1819, in a letter to Isaac H. Tiffany Which sounds just a LITTLE like “An it harm none, do what ye will”.McCain should read some of these: “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”-Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.”-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802“Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814All of which makes Jefferson a bit of a dude, really.

  • Yvonne

    Great quotes!Actually I thought ost of the Founding Fathers were Freemasons, which would mean that the USA was founded on Masonic principles :)

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