A Christian Nation? Since When?

Mar 24, 2015

Image via Shutterstock

By Kevin M. Kruse

America may be a nation of believers, but when it comes to this country’s identity as a “Christian nation,” our beliefs are all over the map.

Just a few weeks ago, Public Policy Polling reported that 57 percent of Republicans favored officially making the United States a Christian nation. But in 2007, a survey by the First Amendment Center showed that 55 percent of Americans believed it already was one.

The confusion is understandable. For all our talk about separation of church and state, religious language has been written into our political culture in countless ways. It is inscribed in our pledge of patriotism, marked on our money, carved into the walls of our courts and our Capitol. Perhaps because it is everywhere, we assume it has been from the beginning.

But the founding fathers didn’t create the ceremonies and slogans that come to mind when we consider whether this is a Christian nation. Our grandfathers did.

Back in the 1930s, business leaders found themselves on the defensive. Their public prestige had plummeted with the Great Crash; their private businesses were under attack by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal from above and labor from below. To regain the upper hand, corporate leaders fought back on all fronts. They waged a figurative war in statehouses and, occasionally, a literal one in the streets; their campaigns extended from courts of law to the court of public opinion. But nothing worked particularly well until they began an inspired public relations offensive that cast capitalism as the handmaiden of Christianity.

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16 comments on “A Christian Nation? Since When?

  • The idea that putting a slogan on money is going to make other people harass homosexuals (the #1 Christian value) is childish. The most important issues involve brainwashing and abusing children.

    The term “Christian values” is vague and creates a warm feeling in many people. I think we should define them and challenge Christians to prove the term means something otherwise.

    Here are what I consider the most important Christian values:

    thou shalt harass homosexuals and encourage others to kill them.
    that shalt block all abortions no matter what the consequences to the mother or twins.
    that shalt force everyone to live to last possible second, especially if they are suffering.
    Thou shalt breed like rabbits and make everyone else do so.
    Thou shalt deny all science in favour of myths with no evidence to support them.
    Thou shalt assert thy moral superiority to Jesus rejectors.
    A lie to defend the faith is a virtuous act.

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  • Informative article. Puts a historical perspective on how the religious virus was deliberately injected into the American psyche. At the time, it was like any power grab. “This will give us power today.” The long term consequences of that infection are manifest today. A classic meme that has taken on a life of its own. America, a theocracy in all but name. Iran, the same theocracy, but admitted. They are the two faces of Janus.

    Enter Ted Cruz who is running to be the next Pope of the United States of America.

    Cruz ran down a playlist of conservative greatest hits: Repeal Obamacare and the Common Core education standards, secure the nation’s southern border, abolish the IRS and install a flat tax, uphold religious liberty, preserve traditional marriage and the right to life, protect gun rights, uphold privacy rights, embrace school choice and stand with Israel and against radical Islamic terrorism.

    Wrong is so many ways.

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  • David R Allen Mar 24, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    Enter Ted Cruz who is running to be the next Pope of the United States of America.

    Apparently his belief in “liberty” and that of the YEC management at “Liberty University”, does not extend to letting the students choose which politicians or preachers they want to listen to!!!


    . . . . .a captive audience of nearly 10,000 students—none of whom had any choice in whether to attend.*

    *That’s because all Liberty students are obligated to show up for convocations on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Absenteeism results in “four reprimands and a $10 fine,”

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  • What is the difference between christian nation (state) and islamic state!? I do not see one. They are both “handmaiden” of evil. Politicians nurture their beloved herd of christian voters, they simply need them, without them those politicians would failed to exist as relevant subject. Those bastards would never give up their privileges. Capitalism and religion are deeply intertwined, they both seek to submit people, to take away their money and other property through fear. They have managed to install mechanisms to seize property and power from population – first they give you good scare (terror) then they install mechanisms to release you from that terror (spirituality) but that goes with a high price for population – confiscation of personal freedom and money. I see no other way other than revolution. When would demos finally be free?

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  • By the way, there is also a nice example of propaganda from this image in article. Church with a right arrow (meaning progress, something good…) and state with a left arrow (meaning to go back, not progress, bad,…).

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  • Modesti Mar 25, 2015 at 4:31 am

    By the way, there is also a nice example of propaganda from this image in article. Church with a right arrow (meaning progress, something good…) and state with a left arrow (meaning to go back, not progress, bad,…).

    . . . .or it could be interpreted as:- “right” – Church and associated right-wing religinuts like Cruz, casino-bankers, and “Liberty” YEC University!

    State – “left” – Obamacare, social conscience, and a liberal approach considering the interests of the whole population!

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  • “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”

    This language tends to support the religiosity claims, surely?

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  • The statements made by Ted Cruz, when announcing to run for president in 2016, were absolutely priceless and right on the money. I certainly wish to "imagine" Ted Cruz as our new president! The benefits and improvements that he will give to our nation will be incalculable! Oh, YES, I am going to do my best to make sure that Ted Cruz follows our current disastrous tenant, who is temporarily living in the White House.

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  • David R Allen Mar 24, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    I think this follows the principle, that if you put up monkey with the “right” political badge and a few simplistic slogans, some people will vote for it!


    A young mother has stepped into the monkey suit vacated by a recently-elected mayor.

    Student Ceri Anderson, 26, is the new mascot of Hartlepool United.

    She takes over from Stuart Drummond, who was sensationally elected as mayor of the Teesside town in May.

    Hartlepool United had to hold auditions for a new H’Angus the Monkey, with dozens of fans applying for the coveted job.

    In an unlikely turn of events H’Angus ended up winning the mayoral race, after standing as a joke on the one issue ticket of free bananas for children.

    On gaining his new £50,000-a-year post Mr Drummond hastily cast aside the ape suit which earned him the job in the first place.

    It seems he was a very good mayor – but the skin-deep monkey outfit was only a joke! – unlike some of the real political monkeys!!

    A football mascot-turned-elected mayor who admitted he only stood as a joke has been named in the world’s top 10.

    Stuart Drummond, the mayor of Hartlepool, rocked the established political parties when he stood in his home town as H’Angus the monkey and won in 2002.

    Since then he has dumped the monkey suit, been re-elected twice and beaten Boris Johnson and predecessor Ken Livingstone to become the first UK politician to be shortlisted in the World Mayor Competition. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/monkey-mascot-hangus-of-hartlepool-named-268562

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  • In the second half of the C18, many of the intelligentsia, particularly the Ben Franklin clique were Deists. They had a belief in some sort of founding sprit, but not God as known by Christians and Jews.

    “Creator” was a word sometimes used by Christians to mean God, particularly God the Holy Ghost/Spirit, aka God the Grandad. I have always thought that the word was used in the founding PR propaganda sheet of the United States, as a suitably meaningless term, which would keep the more conservative religious quiet, whilst not actually saying anything meaningful.

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  • My creator would be Mommy and Daddy. If anyone cared to read the Constitution, they will not find one reference to god, christians, Jesus, protestants…it is a purely secular document, with specifications strictly forbidding government meddeling into religion, period.

    Article VII of the Constitution is often pointed out by xtians as proof of the framer’s dedication to their god; it is the only place you’ll see any, even vague reference though, as it is dated, “the year of our Lord, One thousand and Eighty seven” , but that has absolutely nothing to do with religiousity; it was simply the dating convention of the time, nothing more.

    All of the references to God appeared in our country in the 1950’s, and was done so by Congressional decisions, strictly against our forefather’s carefully worded statements that America is a secular government, with NO religious influences, ever!

    The xtian intrusion into religious freedom in America seems to be on the rise? What they fail to realize is that their Constitutional Right to Freedom of Religion, IS DEPENDENT upon the freedom FROM OTHER PEOPLE’S religious beliefs! They fail to understand this CRITICAL SEPARATION! They want this country designated xtian…well, which one? The religion that has the most money?, pushes the hardest?, threatens the most fear…? What can possibly go wrong!!???

    I write about this subject more than any other, because in my opinion, it is the biggest threat to our country’s democracy this century! That Union states have chosen to disregard Federal Constitutional laws with their own was dealt with by the framers themselves, way before the 1961 lawsuit referenced in the openly secular article. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson worked for years to establish additional laws forbidding states from doing exactly that. States were in-fighting over which churches would receive the people’s tax dollars! In this great, new, free country, people were forced to pay taxes to area churches!

    Although the framers believed they were clear in the First Ammendment, that government “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”, and “there shall be NO religious test’ or ‘pledge to hold office…” Madison had to champion an additional law forbidding these practices, and I quote his words, “under the Constitution, there is not a shadow of right in the general government to intermeddle with religion’ and that ‘this subject is, for the honor of America, perfectly free and unshackled. The Government has no jurisdiction over it…”

    Believers would do well by doing a modicum of research into this discrimatory policy they are setting, because keeping, or should I say, making America a secular government, is the ONLY way to protect their religious freedom! They should “be careful what they wish for”, cause they just might get it! How about Shria law xtians? Want that? I think NOT!

    They are so worried about atheists, they are willing to bite off their own noses to spite their faces!…what a conundrum it will be for them to discover that it’s not us they should be worried about…it is other believers who don’t believe the same way they do!

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  • Meanwhile the faith-blinkers are once again coming down over legislators’ eyes!

    So with the usual cognitive dissonance:- Indiana Governor Mike Pence says the law is not discriminatory

    .Activists have encouraged a boycott of Indiana after the US state enacted a “religious freedom” law, which they say discriminates against gay people.

    Supporters say the law prevents the state from forcing people to provide services contrary to their religion.

    Similar bills are being considered across the US as court rulings have made gay marriage legal in more states.

    Several groups plan to do less business with the state, and celebrities criticised the law on Twitter.

    The National Collegiate Athletic Association said it was “especially concerned” about how the law would affect its employees and student athletes.

    Next week, the NCCA will host the finals of its annual basketball tournament in Indianapolis, the state’s capital and its largest city.

    On Friday, Arkansas moved closer to passing a similar “religious freedom” measure.

    Several large conventions based in Indiana — including the large gamer gathering GenCon — have threatened to hold their events elsewhere because of the law.

    Salesforce, a California company with ties to Indiana, cancelled all employee travel to the state and said it was considering decreasing its investment in Indiana.

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  • One superstitious, hocus pocus, priest class, mumbo jumbo belief system (religion) teams up with a superstitious, hocus pocus, priest class, mumbo jumbo belief system (economics).

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