I woke up this morning to the same debate in the news that I find every year on this day:
Was America founded as a Christian nation? People quote words of the founding fathers that support their opinion, and other people find quotes by the same founding fathers that seem to indicate the other view. Entire books have been written on the subject, and many become quite impassioned as they discuss it.
It does seem that the majority of people who were instrumental in breaking away from Great Britain and forming a new country were people who acknowledged God or a Creator or Divine Providence. It is also obvious that it was extremely important to them that everyone in the new country be able to voice and observe their religious beliefs without being harassed or punished. At that point in time, the vast majority of Americans were of the Christian faith, so people said we were a “Christian” nation. Fast forward more than two hundred years, and you have a very different scenario. People of many faiths have immigrated to this country, and we are now a very religiously diverse country. I doubt if many people would call us a “Christian” nation anymore.
The debate totally misses the point. A Christian is a person who has made a heart-felt decision to follow Jesus, has asked to have his/her sins forgiven, and lives his/her life following Jesus. It’s a relationship with the Son of God. Only a person can be a Christian. Our country has close ties to the Christian faith because so many citizens identify themselves as such, but the country itself is not of any specific religion. At this point in history, one of our greatest difficulties is preserving the rights of each religious (or non-religious) group without repressing the rights of other religious groups. If I feel that my religious rights are being violated, yes, I will voice my objections. But I realize that other groups have the freedom to do the same thing.
Having said that, I am still extremely thankful to be living in this country. There are so many other places in the world that I could have been born – places that punish, imprison, torture, and kill people for having the “wrong” religious beliefs. I pray for those who are in that situation, and hope that you do also. Blessings to you on this Fourth Of July, and may you always appreciate the freedom you have in the United States of America.