Your Opinion: Foundation of 'Christian nation'
Friday, December 9, 2011
If we are to believe Mr. Smith, (Mr. Half truth himself), the fact that article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli 1797 does not exist is a, “so what”! Even if one chooses to believe that the intent of the president and the Senate were to suggest that our country was not founded as a Christian nation and upon Biblical principles, how does one square that opinion with the preponderance of documents before and after the Treaty of Tripoli, that dispel that argument? The real purpose of those words could have been to provide reassurance to the Moslem Bey and his religious establishment that religion, in of itself, would not be a basis of hostility between the two nations.
John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court said: “Providence has given to our people the choice of their ruler, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our ‘Christian nation’ to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
Can America still be called a Christian nation? There are increasing numbers of non-Christians immigrating to this country, and there has been a rapid rise in adherents to Islam among our population. There are millions of Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Shintoists, Unitarians, Hindus, Wiccans, Naturists, Agnostics, and Atheists, but Christians comprise roughly 84 percent of the population. Our constitutional legal system is still based on the Jewish/Christian Bible, not the Koran or any other holy book. Easter and Christmas still have a special place in the holiday lexicon.
The Ten Commandments are still on the wall behind the Supreme Court Justices when they take the bench. Our coins still display the motto, “In God We Trust.” The US is still firmly part of a Western Civilization fashioned by a Judeo-Christian religious ethic and heritage. Alexis de Tocqueville observed more than a century and a half ago, “There is no country in the world, where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America.”
That is still true today. We live, not under a Christian government, but in a nation where all are free to practice their particular religion, in accommodation with other religions, and in accordance with the basic principles of the nation, which are Christian in origin. It is in that sense that America may properly be referred to as a Christian nation.