Was America (The United States of America) founded as a Christian Nation?
The conflicting positions on this question are:
- Historians have generally concluded that the answer to this question is clearly “no”.
- Various religious factions have asserted that the answer to this question is a firm “yes”.
Separate posts will illustrate some aspects of the debate over this notion,
Especially among conservative evangelical Christian groups, the claim that America was intended by the founders to be specifically “Christian” is used as a pretext to assert influence over all Americans through the political process. Historical records indicate that Christianity was only a majority religion among those who were religious and was intended to have equal, but not preferred status among all others. Perhaps Christianity has always held some degree of preference as the choice of the majority throughout American history, but it has never been held as the official national religion. Despite many recent assertions to the contrary, the founding documents of this country placed specific restraints on both government and religion to prevent the tyranny of either over the citizens of the nation.
The recent resurgence of the notion that “America was founded as a Christian nation” seems to come from several primary sources, which use historical documents very selectively a to promote particular agenda. Under closer examination, these “historical proofs” are typically assertions and wishful thinking more than established historical fact.
Not being a historian, I have nothing unique to add to this subject, other than provide links to locations where the comparison of the historical facts and revisionist assertions has already been done.
These references will continue to be updated routinely with relevant material.
- “Is America a Christian Nation? What Both Left and Right Get Wrong” <http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/42835>
- “Brief History of Christianity in America” <http://www.sullivan-county.com/christian.htm>
- “America’s True History of Religious Tolerance” <http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/americas-true-history-of-religious-tolerance-61312684/?all>
- “The Rise of Dominionism – Remaking America as a Christian Nation” <http://www.politicalresearch.org/2005/12/05/the-rise-of-dominionismremaking-america-as-a-christian-nation/>
- “Our Pledge of Allegiance and the Myth of “One Nation Under God” ” <http://www.forwardprogressives.com/our-pledge-of-allegiance-and-the-myth-of-one-nation-under-god/>
- “One Nation “Under God” Being Challenged in Massachusetts Supreme Court” <http://www.forwardprogressives.com/one-nation-under-god-being-challenged-in-massachusetts-supreme-court/>
- “Calvinism, Capitalism, Conversion, and Incarceration” <http://www.politicalresearch.org/2004/11/06/calvinism-capitalism-conversion-and-incarceration/>
- 5 Reasons America Is Not — And Has Never Been — a Christian Nation <http://www.alternet.org/story/155985/ >
- “Little-Known U.S. Document Signed by President Adams Proclaims America’s Government Is Secular”<http://www.earlyamerica.com/review/summer97/secular.html>
- Wheaton College Conference paper explaining a Christian perspective “A Christian View of the Role of Government” <http://www.wheaton.edu/~/media/Files/Centers-and-Institutes/CACE/articles/ChristianViewRoleGovernment.pdf>
Advocates of Christian Dominionism
- Sourcewatch topic “David Barton“<http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=David_Barton> (David Barton has been writing books for several decades that purport to prove that America was founded by God to be a Christian theocracy, and that the founding fathers also intended this.)
- Many political activists and commentators have picked up the cause with the rise in popularity of the Christian history movement to advance their own goals. Most notable are Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, most Fox News Channel commentators, Tea Party groups, and most of the right wing of the Republican party.
- Most Evangelical Christian broadcast channels have advocated the Dominionist viewpoints.
Websites and Blogs
- Political Research Associates – <http://www.politicalresearch.org>
- Alternet – <http://www.alternet.org>
[02-15-2017] Replaced bullets with item numbers in References. Added item 9 in Historical References.