From a Christian Nation to a Secular Nation

America began as a Christian nation.  We see the signs of this even in the Declaration of Independence, which begins this way [emphasis added]:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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…  (Source:  Archives.gov)

And this same Declaration ends in this way:

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.  (Source:  Archives.gov)

When the Constitution was to be signed, it was dated this way [emphasis added]:

…done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven…  (Source: Archives.gov)

The Bill of Rights listed as the very first of those rights:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…  (Source: Archives.gov)

When George Washington became the nation’s very first president in 1789, he did so by swearing an oath on the Bible.

And, of course, in the 1830’s French writer Alexis de Tocqueville famously documented the breadth and depth of the nation’s commitment to the Bible and its ideals in his book Democracy in America.

While there is much more that could be said about the Christianity of early America, let us turn our attention to the present.

In 1973, the right to an abortion was established as the law of the land by a Supreme Court opinion.  In 2015, the right of two homosexuals to marry was established as the law of the land – again by a Supreme Court ruling.  By the way, in both cases, the separation of powers, established as a founding principle of the nation, was violated as the judiciary exercised legislative power.  Yet the other two branches of government and the citizenry largely took the usurpations in stride.

On June 28, 2006, Barack Obama said:

Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation – at least, not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.  (Source:  FactCheck.org)

And in the wake of the 2015 same-sex “marriage” ruling, President Obama had the White House lit up in rainbow colors – not to commemorate the bow that God put in the sky as a reminder of his promise to Noah and all his descendants, but rather in the symbolic colors of gay pride “to demonstrate our unwavering commitment to progress and equality.”  (Source:  USA Today)

Not one to rest on his laurels, our President is moving to make a national monument to the practice of a sin condemned in explicit terms by both the Old and New Testaments:

New York’s iconic Stonewall Inn, where the modern gay rights movement took root, will become the first national monument honoring the history of gays and lesbians in the U.S. under a proposal President Barack Obama is preparing to approve.

Designating the small swath of land will mark a major act of national recognition for gay rights advocates and their struggles over the last half-century. Since the 1969 uprising in Greenwich Village, the U.S. has enacted anti-discrimination protections, allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly in the U.S. military and legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

(Source:  Washington Post [Editorial note May 26, 2016: The Washington Post has since removed the article from which this excerpt came])

Not only has America condoned and legalized practices abhorrent to Christians from ancient times right up to the present, it has also made illegal almost every form of conscientious objection a Christian might try to exercise to these practices. From one end of the country to the other, every form of Christian resistance is being suppressed.  Even when a legislative body – whether national, state, or local – takes action to protect Christian conscience, activist courts strike down such protections.

The percentage of Americans willing to vote for an atheist as president has been rising for some time:

  • 1958 – 18%
  • 1978 – 40%
  • 1999 – 49%
  • 2012 – 54%
  • 2015 – 58%
  • (Source:  Gallup.com)

When Gallup first started asking this question about presidential preferences in 1937, the choice of “atheist” wasn’t even offered.

In a complementary development, the 2015 Gallup survey says:

…evangelical Christian candidates may suffer, in that one in four Americans say they will not vote for an evangelical Christian. Candidates of various faiths who court American evangelicals…could suffer from their association with the evangelical faithful and the social issues they take firm stances on.  (Source:  Gallup.com)

Note that it is not the religion of Christians per se that has become the problem for their fellow Americans but rather “the social issues [Christians] take firm stances on.”

Some secularists will say that we are a pluralistic nation and the secularism is just the means by which we can all get along.  Yet secularism is a religion even though its proponents won’t admit it.  To practice secularism’s ideals in the public square means to forego our own.  Therefore, the secularists dominate by saying, “You religious guys have different rules so let’s just all live by our rules.”  Thus pluralism becomes secularism’s excuse for dominance.

You may say that I’m treating all secularists as nonbelievers. I am.  I know that many secularists will say that they are believers in one religion or another, but that’s something they will say that they practice in private – at home or in a house of worship, not in the public square.  Therefore, a secularist abides by the rules of a nonbeliever.  The secularist and the nonbeliever, therefore, follow the same rules of public discourse.  Reference to God in political matters is verboten, while all that was intended by “separation of church and state” was that we wouldn’t have a national church as England did.  Our founders certainly never intended a separation of God and state.  Such an idea would have been repugnant to them…if it had even been imaginable to them.

The period from 1776 to 2016 amounts to 240 years.  People can argue how and why America transitioned from a Christian nation to a secular nation, but data points I’ve given you are enough to make clear that the difference between then and now is like day and night.  The only “progress” this denotes is from light to darkness.  My data points are merely representative samples of the respective periods.  There is so much more evidence that could be arrayed about the Christianity prevailing at America’s beginning and the secularism that prevails in her today.  The point is that comparing in the beginning point to the current point demonstrates the sharpest of contrasts.

We have to accept reality.  It’s true that we no longer live in a Christian nation.  And it’s also true while this fact portends greater troubles for the nation ahead, the majority of our fellow Americans don’t think that will be the case.  They think a secular America is a better America.  They are content to live without the light of Christ shining across the land; they prefer it.  We know better.  There is no light without Him.

Therefore, we must learn to live for Christ in a dark place, and not keep thinking about how nice it would be to live for Christ in the kind of nation our founders gave us.  Yes, it would be nice…but it’s not what we have before us.  Not by a long shot.

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