A good number of American citizens believe that the United States is predominantly a Christian nation. Right-Wing television evangelists and their allies claim that America was initially established on Christian principles, and therefore, the constitution should reflect Christian teachings.
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It is worthy to note that several politicians support the sentiment that the United States should be guided by Christian teachings (Americans United 1). Is this assertion accurate? Did the founders of the nation plan to set up a nation that gave special merit to Christianity? Does the Constitution of the United States favor Christianity over other forms of religions?
The response to all these queries is no. The Constitution of the United States is entirely a secular document. The document does not talk about Jesus or Christianity. Religion is only mentioned twice in the constitution. The first mention of Christianity is found in the First Amendment that prohibits laws concerning “establishment of religion” (Americans United 1). The second mention of Christianity is found in Article VI, which bars “religious tests” for public office (Americans United 2).
It is, therefore clear that these two constitution provisions prove that America was not established as a Christian nation. It is important to state that the forefathers did not create a secular nation because they loathed Christianity. Most of them were religious men. Their decision to set up a secular nation was based on the fact that the church-state union was a dangerous partnership.
The founding fathers had first-hand experiences of the tyranny and oppression created by the alliances between the state and religion in Europe. If the founding fathers wanted to make America a Christian nation, they would have included this aspect in the constitution (Americans United 2).
Some political scholars have argued that the United States’ foreign policy is mainly guided by religious teachings. John B. Judis demonstrates this point when he states that President Bush’s second inaugural speech was mainly dedicated to validating the nation’s foreign policy (1). The president’s policy statements claimed that the United States was chosen by God to watch over the world (Judis 1).
President Bush’s speeches in reference to God surpassed those made by his predecessors by far. Nonetheless, it is not unusual when a US president describes the country’s foreign policy in religious terms. There has been a precedent to that effect. During the Second World War, President Roosevelt (in his speech to Congress) asserted that America was striving to maintain its divine heritage.
President John Adams also expressed gratitude to God for protecting United States from World War I. Also; there are many high-ranking US officials who have expressed similar sentiments that the United States was chosen by God to spread freedom in all parts of the world (Judis 1).
The concept that America is a religious nation has been expressed in various ways throughout history. The first concept relates to Abraham Lincon, who stated that the United States was God’s chosen nation. He further claimed that the US was the best gift to the world. The second one relates to the notion that the United States has a divine calling or duty to make the world a better place.
During the debate over the invasion of the Philippines, Albert Beveridge (US Senator) asserted that America was chosen by God to take charge in the emancipation of the world. The third concept is that the US represents forces of good over evil as it dispenses its divine role (Judis 2). When these concepts are assessed together, they create a framework that explains the influence of religion on America’s foreign policy and the nation at large.
Americans United. “Is America A Christian Nation?” 2011. Web.
Judis B. John. The Chosen Nation: The Influence of Religion on U.S. Foreign Policy. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: Washington, D. C., 2005. Print.