A Christian nation?

One of the most annoying things to me when teaching American government is the number of students who refer to this as a Christian nation and somehow believe that Jefferson and Madison were akin to modern-day evangelicals.  Not exactly.  Anyway, Cal Thomas, a conservative columnist whom I normally find to be little more than a blithering idiot, somehow had this incredibly good post on the topic:

The prophet
Isaiah wrote: “Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are
regarded as dust on the scales…Before Him all the nations are as
nothing; they are regarded by Him as worthless and less than nothing.”
(Isaiah 40:15-16). That doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room for those
who claim America is a “Christian nation.”

What does that mean? That we are all Christian? Of course not, because all are not.

Declaring America as special, or uniquely Christian, or more favored
by God than, say, Canada, or Mexico, or even Iran, is a form of

It also reflects an unbiblical view that God's Kingdom and the
United States have a kind of “special relationship,” the theological
equivalent of the “special relationship” that has existed between the
U.S. and Britain. A lot of Scripture has to be twisted to reach such a

Only individuals can be Christian, not countries, and those who
think otherwise are in danger of breaking the Commandment, “Thou shalt
not have no other gods before me.”

So, not only is it extraordinarily bad history to make the argument that America is a Christian nation– it's bad Christianity, too.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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