The United States Was Established as a Christian Nation!

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by OldRegular, Dec 9, 2004.

  1. OldRegular

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    That the United states was founded as a Christian nation was affirmed by a decision handed down by the Supreme Court in 1892, just over 100 years after the founding of this Republic, in the case: Church Of The Holy Trinity V. United States.

    “Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of The Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to the this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian. ... This is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation. ... we find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth. ... These and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”

    Since the United States was formed as a Christian nation it is obvious that God was instrumental in its founding, including its founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution

    The United States is a product, a fruit, of Western Civilization, just as Western Civilization is a product of Christianity [and thus, Judaism] and Classical Civilizations. However, it is basically impossible to separate the culture and government of a people from its religion. If one examines all the cultures/governments/religions of the world I believe they will find that only the Judeo/Christian culture/religion recognizes that the individual has intrinsic value. If a culture does not acknowledge the intrinsic value of the individual the government is likely to be totalitarian and barbarian.

    Man, the epitome of God’s creative active, is of infinite value to God else why would Jesus Christ, God the Son, die to reconcile man to God. Therefore, the intrinsic value of the individual is a basic tenant of the Christian faith.

    I believe that the greatest failing of Western Civilization as it existed in Europe, even though they claimed a nominal Christianity, was its failure to recognize the intrinsic worth of the individual. Even with the progress that Western Civilization made as it overcame the dark ages it failed to adequately recognize this truth. There were always some countrymen who were considered of lesser value than others. The tenets of Western Civilization that were imposed on Central and South America certainly failed to recognize the worth of the individual and this truth is still largely ignored. Democratic governments have had a tough time in South/Central America.

    Not only is the intrinsic value of the individual a basic tenant of the Christian faith it is also a basic tenant that was incorporated into the formation of the Republic. This nation was thus unique among all the nations of the world. This is one reason, among many, that I believe this nation was founded as a Christian nation because only in Christ is the worth of the individual validated.

    It is true that the founding document that initially recognizes the worth of man, the Declaration of Independence, was written by a diest, Thomas Jefferson, but God does work in mysterious ways. Nevertheless the Constitution, particularly with the first ten amendments, recognizes that man is endowed by God with certain inalienable rights and is written, when properly interpreted, to protect those rights. It can, therefore, be argued that the unique contribution of the foundation of this nation to Western Civilization in particular and civilization in general is its recognition of the intrinsic worth of the individual.

    Let me state at this point that I do not believe in any union between church and state, one will become dominant to the detriment of both. The Church is a spiritual entity. As we Baptist like to say the Church is to be in the world but not of it. The state is a secular organization. The words of Jesus Christ which make this clear: And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s [Luke 20:25, KJV].

    Back to my contention that this nation was founded as a Christian nation. This nation, perhaps miraculously, was founded during the age of rationalism, a time when many intellectuals were diests, and a time when perhaps a majority of the people in this country were not professing Christians. Yet Kenneth Latourette in his book A History of Christianity, Volume 2, page 963, writes about the impact of Christians as follows:

    ”Confronted with a majority which, uprooted from its European environment where affiliation with the Church was required, was drifting towards pure secularism, they rose to the emergency. Through the Great Awakening they were reaching out to the unchurched. Here and there, notably in Jonathan Edwards, independence of thought was appearing in the American-born whites. In general, perhaps because of its predominantly Reformed rootage, American Protestantism was activistic. Especially in New England and in the Quaker colonies, it was seeking to build here and now an ideal Christian society.

    This extreme Protestantism with its strong Reformed strain was helping to shape the nascent nation. Even though those with a formal church membership constituted only a small fraction of the population, ideals and institutions were being moulded by their faith. Moral standards were set by it. It was resisting sexual irregularities, profanity, faithlessness to promises, drunkenness, quarreling, and gambling. It was easing the impact of the whites upon the Indians and the Negroes. It was responsible for most of such formal education as existed. All the colleges founded before 1750 had their beginnings in the zeal of earnest Christians and most of them were closely connected with the churches. The Protestantism of the Thirteen Colonies was laying the foundations for the democracy which found expression in the American Revolution and the United States. For example, in New England the clergy were preaching the rights which come from nature and nature's God, the theory that all men are born free, the duty of resistance to encroachments on those rights, and the popular element in government. While many of the clergy looked askance at pure democracy, the radical Protestantism which predominated in the churches in the Thirteen Colonies, seeking as it was to carry through the distinctive principles of the Reformation, salvation by the faith of the individual and the priesthood of all believers, underlay and permeated the democracy which characterized the United States.”


    Note: Latourette uses the term extreme Protestantism in contrast to the Church of England.
     
  2. rsr

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    "Nevertheless the Constitution, particularly with the first ten amendments, recognizes that man is endowed by God with certain inalienable rights and is written, when properly interpreted, to protect those rights."

    Actually, the "endowed" phrase comes from Jefferson's Declaration, not from the Constitution, which nowhere mentions God.
     
  3. rsr

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    Latourette is an interesting read, but he needs to be taken in large chunks to have full effect. It also needs to be understood that he was writing from a different perspective of age; there are many on the board, I am sure, who would differ with his acceptance of globalization.
     
  4. corinne

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    Friends, the U.S. may very well have a Christian majority, but it is not a Christian country. In fact, the Christian Religious Right longs for it to be accepted that America is a Christian nation. But thanks to foresighted founding fathers like Madison, Jefferson, Adams and even Roger Williams, it isn't so.

    You need to carefully read the Constitution. For a quick review here is a primer:

    The U.S. Constitution is a secular document and has no reference to religious roots of the U.S. It begins, "We the people," and contains no mention of "God" or "Christianity." Its only references to religion are exclusionary, such as, "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust" (Art. VI), and "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" (First Amendment). Please read brief references below:

    "The senators and representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." (Article VI, Section 3, The Constitution of the United States.)

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the freedom of press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." (Amendment 1, The Constitution of the United States.)

    Please refer also to a treaty signed by the US where you will find the Founding Fathers did not envision the U.S. as a Christian country or religious state. The treaty was written by Joel Barlow, negotiated during Washington's administration, concluded on November 4, 1796, ratified by the Senate in June, 1797, and signed by John Adams [2nd U.S. President] on June 10,1797. Here is an excerpt from it:

    Treaty of Peace and Friendship Between the United States and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary, 1796-1797:

    "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion--as it has itself no character of enmity against the law, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims], ..." (Article 11, Treaty of Peace and Friendship between The United States and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary," 1796-1797.)

    And, now specifically for Muslims:

    "Where the preamble [of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom] declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting the words "Jesus Christ," so that it should read, "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination."

    So, anyone who claims or believes that the U.S. is a Christian country is either misinformed or merely expressing an opinion, perhaps a wish, but not a fact.

    Corinne
    http://www.christianresistance.com
     
  5. Matt Black

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    OR, I'm not at all convinced that emphasis on the individual is a good thing or necessarily Christian; it is perhaps the product of one form of Christianity, namely a somewhat extreme Protestantism. I would scarcely argue that this has had unremittingly good effects; if you are arguing that it was the prevailing influence in the formation of the US polity AND that it resulted in better treatment for blacks and Native Americans, then the evidence of the last 200 years or so shows those arguments to be fundamentally at variance.

    No, individualism within Christianity springs largely from a defect within the Reformation (plus, in the US at least, a dose of Frontier Spirit). It was perhaps inevitable that the Reformation, with its (rightful) emphasis on the need for personal salvation through the individual’s faith and relationship with God, would spawn an, at times, unhealthy reliance on the Christian as individual rather than as part of the Church as a whole. Although we have to recognise that the pre-Reformation Catholic Church was not quite the monolith with a united front that some evangelicals would like to think (consider in particular the Catholic-Orthodox schism of 1054 and the split within Catholicism between Rome and Avignon 1378-1417), it is nevertheless true that in destroying the concept and ideology of a united ‘Great Church’ with universally-held and certain doctrines and uniformity of observance and worship, the Reformers created a problem for themselves and future generations of Christians: if the Catholic Church hierarchy is no longer the arbiter of doctrine, discipline and Biblical interpretation, then who is, and by what right and on what basis? Two solutions presented themselves – and still do today. The first is that it is the individual Christian who determines what is right and proper by revelation from God and by the Spirit illuminating the Bible as the Word of God. This is of course a recipe for both anarchy and heresy as well as the culture for the emergence of Godly, gifted and anointed Christians. The second solution was to set up an alternative church with its own doctrines and own hierarchy (different, of course, to that of the Catholics), which is what Luther essentially did. The second solution, however, presents a problem – who decides what form this church takes and what its doctrines are, and on what basis? So, again we are thrown back on the individual ultimately, and the second solution has large elements of the first in it.

    Thus in replacing corporate objectivity which was in error with largely individual subjectivity which was equally prone to error, the Reformers created the climate for further splits within Christendom. After all, if Luther (who was he after all?) could start his own church, why couldn’t anyone else? This is, of course, the fundamental weakness of Protestantism; that any old Tom, Dick or Harry (yes, it’s usually men who are the problem here) can set up shop on his own, attract a following and declare himself to be the sole repository of all truth.

    Therefore Protestantism, taken to its logical conclusion, and despite its stated reliance on the Bible as the revealed Word of God, is nevertheless dependent ultimately on individual conscience and interpretation of that Word. Thus it is fair comment to say that the individual (and his/her relationship with God) is at the heart of the Protestant creeds.

    So, I would view Christian individualism as as much of a weakness as a strength

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  6. SpiritualMadMan

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    While the Constitution may not 'codify' Christianity as a National Religion, in fact such a thing is specifically forbidden...

    It also does not prohibit the public expression of Godliness by Public Officials...

    Nor, is there any intention or language requiring a purported 'Separation of Church and state'...

    Except where the 'state' might try to make us a Specifically 'Christian (Baptist) Nation'...

    A belief in a Divine Creator is absolutely not prohibited... Rather encouraged by a majority of our documents and, of course the entire basis of our economy, our monetary system proclaims there is a God in Whom We Trust...

    Or, at least we did...
     
  7. Scott J

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    Once again Corrine, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about when you have presumed to speak for those you disagree with.

    The Christian Right has no ambitions of establishing any religion as the state religion. We do however contend that Christian values, principles, and worldviews are every bit as valid for developing gov't policy as any others.

    Our nation was founded on Christian values- one of which is the sovereignty and rights of the individual as opposed to all rights being held by government. This directly relates to the principles of separation of church and state, priesthood of the believer, and soul liberty espoused by Baptists.

    The overall ideal of our Constitution was that rights belong to the individual and that he is responsible before his God. Never was it imagined that the speech of religious people would be considered contrary to the Constitution simply because it was based on biblical values.
     
  8. OldRegular

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    I did not say the Constitution said anything about God. Please try to follow my logic about the recognition of the intrinsic worth of man in the founding documents.
     
  9. OldRegular

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    Corinne

    I suspect that if you ask anyone of the Islamic religion in the Middle East you would find that they consider the United States a Christian nation. Anyhow the Supreme Court at one time ruled “Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of The Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to the this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian. ... This is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation. ... we find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth. ... These and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”

    Unfortunately recent Federal Court decisions have attempted to remove the name of Jesus Christ from our culture. That being said please try to follow my logic about the recognition of the intrinsic worth of man in the founding documents.
     
  10. liebeskind

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    This is a cut and paste Job but anyone can find reliable source that will state that the country was not founded on Christian Principles!

    Thomas Jefferson,

    "Gouverneur Morris had often told me that General Washington believed no more of that system (Christianity) than did he himself."
    -Thomas Jefferson, in his private journal, Feb. 1800

    Third president and author of the Declaration of Independence, said:"I trust that there is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die a Unitarian." He referred to the Revelation of St. John as "the ravings of a maniac" and wrote:

    The Christian priesthood, finding the doctrines of Christ levelled to every understanding and too plain to need explanation, saw, in the mysticisms of Plato, materials with which they might build up an artificial system which might, from its indistinctness, admit everlasting controversy, give employment for their order, and introduce it to profit, power, and pre-eminence. The doctrines which flowed from the lips of Jesus himself are within the comprehension of a child; but thousands of volumes have not yet explained the Platonisms engrafted on them: and for this obvious reason that nonsense can never be explained."

    Benjamin Franklin,

    Delegate to the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, said:

    As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion...has received various corrupting Changes, and I have, with most of the present dissenters in England, some doubts as to his Divinity; tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the Truth with less trouble."
     
  11. Johnv

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    The data in the OP is wrong:

    Many have claimed that the Supreme Court determined that the US was a Christian nation in the 1892 case (Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 143 U.S. 226 (1892)). Unfortunately, their "analysis" amounts to little more than a manipulation of the language of the opinion to distort the actual meaning of the case.

    The facts of Holy Trinity concerned the application of an Act of Congress titled "An act to prohibit the importation and migration of foreigners and aliens under contract or agreement to perform labor in the Unites States, its Territories and the District of Columbia." Holy Trinity Church contracted with a minister in England to serve as rector. At issue in the case was whether or not the church's action violated the Act which prohibited "any person, company, partnership, or corporation ... to assist or encourage the importation or migration of any alien ... under contract or agreement ... to perform labor or service of any kind in the United States."

    The holding of Holy Trinity was based on an interpretation of the purpose of the Act. The Court concluded that the purpose of the Act was to prohibit the importation of foreign unskilled persons to perform manual labor and manual services. A christian minister, the Court reasoned, is a "toiler of the brain," not a manual laborer; Holy Trinity Church, therefore, was found not to have violated the Act when it employed a man from England.

    The rationale in Holy Trinity contains several different parts. First the court discusses how it came up with the idea that the purpose of the Act was to slow down or stop the importation of cheap, unskilled manual laborers which might compete with American unskilled laborers for jobs. The Court says the title of the Act implies its meaning, that only the importation of "laborers" will be restricted. The Court then turns to the legislative history, debates, and comments of the Congressmen involved in drafting the Act to conclude that the Act was designed to regulate the domestic unskilled, labor market.

    Justice Brewer then writes in the opinion that "beyond all these matters no purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or national, because this is a religious people." Several pages later, after presenting a religious history of America, he follows up with the statement: "These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation." Many have spliced together these two quotes and falsely cites the Holy Trinity case as establishing America as a Christian Nation.

    The "Christian Nation" topic was not even at issue in Holy Trinity. The actual dispute the Court had to decide had nothing at all to do with religion. Holy Trinity did not question whether the Immigration Act's purpose was "for or against religion" generally or specifically. So when Brewer begins his religious history lesson with, "no purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or national, because this is a religious people," he refers to no particular statute, no particular actor. He has moved outside the actual facts of this case and the statute at issue to address the vague application of general principles to law in general. His statements, therefore, create no rule of law, and provide no useful precedent for future legal disputes. Since none of the facts suggested that the clergyman was being kept out for the purpose of discriminating against religion or prohibiting religious exercise, the dictum by Brewer addresses no controversy and crafts no rule of law to be applied to other cases as precedent.
     
  12. liebeskind

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    OldRegular,

    Correct me if I'm wrong. But are you one of those Christians &lt;snipped&gt;If not then why would you post something so incorrect this, in fact a LIE.

    NO SANE AMERICAN WOULD SAY THAT THIS COUNTRY WAS BUILT ON CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES.

    CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES IS WHAT STOP BLACK AMERICANS FROM THE NORTH GOING BACK DOWN SOUTH AND KILLING THE WHITES! IT WAS CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES THAT GOT BLACK MEN LIKE MYSELF THE RIGHT TO VOTE (MARTIN L. KING) AND DESEGREGATION (MARTIN L. KING). HE IS THE TRUE AMERICAN, NOT &lt;inflammatory comment snipped&gt; WHOM WERE PRESIDENT.

    Ron.

    [ December 10, 2004, 04:18 PM: Message edited by: C4K ]
     
  13. OldRegular

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    Matt Black

    I heard the benefits of the loss of individualism in the RCC and EOC argued adnauseam on another forum. May I point out that God saves people as individuals, not as a group.

    For your edification I will repeat the logic used in development of this topic aside from the 1892 ruling of the Supreme Court: "Man, the epitome of God’s creative active, is of infinite value to God else why would Jesus Christ, God the Son, die to reconcile man to God. Therefore, the intrinsic value of the individual is a basic tenant of the Christian faith.

    I believe that the greatest failing of Western Civilization as it existed in Europe, even though they claimed a nominal Christianity, was its failure to recognize the intrinsic worth of the individual. Even with the progress that Western Civilization made as it overcame the dark ages it failed to adequately recognize this truth. There were always some countrymen who were considered of lesser value than others. The tenets of Western Civilization that were imposed on Central and South America certainly failed to recognize the worth of the individual and this truth is still largely ignored. Democratic governments have had a tough time in South/Central America.

    Not only is the intrinsic value of the individual a basic tenant of the Christian faith it is also a basic tenant that was incorporated into the formation of the Republic. This nation was thus unique among all the nations of the world. This is one reason, among many, that I believe this nation was founded as a Christian nation because only in Christ is the worth of the individual validated."

    May I say again that the recognition of the intrinsic worth of the individual is not limited to Christians but to mankind in general. Unfortunately this recognition does not extend to the unborn.
     
  14. liebeskind

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    OldRegular,

    Correct me if I'm wrong. But are you one of those Christians &lt;snipped per comments above&gt;. If not then why would you post something so incorrect likr this, in fact a LIE. Are we talking about the same America?

    NO SANE AMERICAN WOULD SAY THAT THIS COUNTRY WAS BUILT ON CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES.

    CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES IS WHAT STOP BLACK AMERICANS FROM THE NORTH GOING BACK DOWN SOUTH AND KILLING THE WHITES! IT WAS CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES THAT GOT BLACK MEN LIKE MYSELF THE RIGHT TO VOTE (MARTIN L. KING) AND DESEGREGATION (MARTIN L. KING). HE IS THE TRUE AMERICAN, NOT &lt;inflammatory comment snipped&gt; WHOM WERE PRESIDENT.

    Ron.

    [ December 10, 2004, 04:25 PM: Message edited by: C4K ]
     
  15. OldRegular

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    I recently left a so-called Christian forum where this sort of nonsensical response was routinely posted. I thought that when I got on a Baptist forum I would be spared this kind of "trash talk" but obviously I was wrong.
     
  16. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    Please note, OR, that this thread is being moderated and posts are being edited.
     
  17. OldRegular

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    Ronald H

    I responded to your "trash talk" once. I will not do so again.
     
  18. liebeskind

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    I recently left a so-called Christian forum where this sort of nonsensical response was routinely posted. I thought that when I got on a Baptist forum I would be spared this kind of "trash talk" but obviously I was wrong. </font>[/QUOTE]Oldregular,

    How is it trash?

    Is it incorrect?

    Or is it a truth that you want to forget in order to make that false claim about America?

    It was Christian principles that lead Black American to fight peacefully for our Rights under the Constitution!

    It was a Black man (Martin King) and his peace that got a white President to desegregate the nation. The Black man recieved a Noble Prize for Peace, and ratified Christian principles for the world to see! It was a slap in the face to White America, because the world stated that he was right and the Government was wrong.

    It was Christian values that got Black the right to vote.

    And you call this trash talk. I will never let anyone Black or White tell flat out lies in the name of truth. What you posted was not true, and that is a Fact!

    Ron.
     
  19. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    MODERATOR NOTE:

    This is being posted publicly because a new member is not reading PMs. Unjustified accusations of racism and purposefully inflammatory comments will not be tolerated. Any further examples will result in the post being deleted.

    Roger
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  20. OldRegular

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    Thanks! Frankly I am mystified at some of the vitriol spewed forth by some people about this OP. I am not trying to argue that we have a theocracy, rather that this nation was founded on the basis of the intrinsic worth of the individual which I believe is recognized only when we consider the Sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. Therefore, it was founded on Christian principles.

    Also recent polls show that a vast majority of Americans believe in the Deity of Jesus Christ.
     

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