On the USA as a Christian Nation: Part 1 of 4 – The Principles

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While in a class at church sometime in 2017, a classmate made a statement causing me to wince. To be fair, I can’t totally recall the exact statement, but it was one of these two: The United States being founded as a Christian nation or as one founded on Christian principles. (Personally, I think it was the latter.)

Fortunately, the idea wasn’t new to me because I’ve encountered such thoughts in my extensive study of the interchange between science and religion. However, this person’s statement increased my desire to want to know more – and now I’m ready to write posts about this issue.

This series of four consecutive daily posts will examine Christian principles/values, reasons for believing the United States was founded as a Christian nation, reasons against the thought, and my concluding statement.

Question 1: Was the United States of America founded on Christian principles?

To for those saying YES, I pose this question: Which principles? (I’ll make it easy, here’s a list.)

One God?
God as Creator of the universe?
God, the one with the final authority?
People are sinners?
Liberty as a God-given right?
Love the neighbor?
Honoring parents?
Doing no harm?
Being slow to anger, renouncing vengeance, and respecting life?
The Golden Rule?
Worship is personal; so no government will tell anyone how to worship?
Good citizenship?
Good moral behavior?
Favoring giving over receiving?
Community relationship with others?
Spiritual relationship with God?
God establishes truth?
Respect of others?
Respect of freedom of thought and expression?
Passing on traditions from one generation to the next?
Acting for the common good?
Civic responsibility?
Prudence?
Justice?
Temperance/restraint?
Grace?
Courage?
Faith?
Honesty?
Hope?
Charity?
Service?
Forgiveness?
Life everlasting?
The Resurrection?
The Holy Trinity?
The Day of Salvation?
The Ten Commandments?
Love, mercy, and forgiveness through the cross?
The Holy Bible as the guide for faith and practice?
Stewardship to others and to our surroundings?
Declaring Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord?

For anyone saying YES to any of the above, can you correlate these to the US Constitution? Is this list uniquely Christian?

Next post: Reasons why the United States is a Christian nation

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42 thoughts on “On the USA as a Christian Nation: Part 1 of 4 – The Principles

    • Patti,
      My pleasure. This topic has been on my radar since the church incident I mentioned – so it was a matter of time when I would get around to doing it! Glad you enjoyed this one, and hopefully it will be the same with the next three.

      Like

  1. Great topic, great list, and great timing! Turns out I’m currently reading two books on The Sermon on the Mount, and last night my wife and I watched on Netflix the 2018 film – “Paul, Apostle of Christ” (which I recommend) directed by Andrew Hyatt and starring James Faulkner as Saint Paul and Jim Caviezel as Saint Luke.

    I join Patti in thanking you for making us think!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tim,
      Thanks. The principles portion of this series was easy to research, but hard to write. Then I thought, what would I do if I was teaching a class on the topic.

      Thanks for the Netflix recommendation.

      Like

  2. I’ll go with the obvious answer on this one: “Worship is personal; so no government will tell anyone how to worship?’ The first amendment (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”). I am probably missing the more subtle aspects in some of the other statements.

    I am looking forward to your next few posts to see how this will develop.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There is nothing worse than having God pushed down my throat for everything that goes on in the world. Christian principles…I look forward to seeing what comes of this, me too…

    Liked by 2 people

      • I appreciate your position yet still feel that non-condemnation underscores the hypocrisy of this so-called Christian nation. Perhaps I’m splitting hairs but believe that any true Christian who does not call out this immoral and egregious behavior is not fulfilling the principles of his or her religion or that of Christ.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m not agree or disagreeing with your position because I remain focused at the question I pose in this post. No offense, but due to the high potential to stray off-topic, I’m focused on the topic.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. thoughtful post, I think there’s much division out there about foundational blocks on christian principles, though I doubt many muse beyond rhetorical statements. I await parts 2-4 and how you roll out more questions to ponder.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Roxie,
      Absolutely about rhetorical statements. (Oh how I cringe when I hear them … such as “Don’t you believe in ___?”) Grrrrrrr ,,, Generic statements are also misleading and lead to misconceptions. All I’ve done here is provide a list for someone to answer the question about identifying the Christian principles upon which our country was founded … and then I go from there. Meanwhile, Part 2 is in a few hours …. and I can say that organizing my thoughts in this series wasn’t easy!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is an incredible list of principles relating to the question of whether or not the United States was founded on uniquely Christian principles. I frequently encounter statements similar to the one that you heard from your “classmate,” and I’m very interested in the research you’re presenting. It’s very timely and interesting to me. Thank you, Frank.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Perhaps it is in the definition. The U.S. is not a theocracy, so it is not a Christian nation. (Though with latest SCOTUS news, it’s probably headed that way.) That some principals of its founding or of some of its founders may line up with Christian principals (and again, what that means is open to a wide interpretation) does not mean it was founded as a Christian nation. The Constitution does not declare the country to be a Christian nation, and the First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion.

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  6. Pingback: On the USA as a Christian Nation: Part 4 of 4 – My Conclusion – A Frank Angle

  7. So many of those principles have nothing to do not only with Christianity, but with religion in general – grace, courage, charity, and many others, even if praised by Christianity, do not require a belief in God and exist independently of gods and religions.

    Liked by 1 person

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