Monday, July 5, 2010

Is America a Christian Nation?

Now that my life's sixty-seventh Independence Day has passed, with all the hoopla about God And Country, it's time to reflect on whether America is a Christian nation.

First, read the Declaration of Independence. The only clear reference to anything religious is an assertion about being endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. This is a Deist-Humanist concept, definitely not Christian. Deism is actually more of a metaphysical world-view than an actual religion.

Next, read the Constitution. No mention of any religion until we get to the First Amendment, which states, essentially, that we have no official national religion and that all people are free to participate in any religion or non-religion of their choosing.

The original Pledge of Allegiance did not contain the phrase Under God. That was added during the 1950's under the mistaken delusion that it would distinguish us from those Godless Communists. In reality, Communism and Godlessness have nothing to do with each other.

Here's the story. At the end of World War II it became apparent that the USA and the USSR were not really allies, we were competitors to see how hard we could stomp on the remnants of the defeated Germany. Both major powers were interested in reaping the spoils of victory and furthering our own empires. The practical difference between Communism and Capitalism is very slight, actually, only a few minor details as to the exact composition of the elite class that has the privilege of oppressing the rest of us.

The USSR tried to suppress organized religions because they were competing power structures, not because Communism had anything against religion. In fact, old Joe Stalin was on-and-off religious himself!

There are two kinds of government that are to be avoided at all costs: Those that try to suppress religion, and those based on religion. Our Founding Fathers made an attempt to avoid either extreme. I think we ought to follow that tradition.