The following is a response to an article bemoaning the fact that this country, a majority of whose citizens are Christian, is not defined as a Christian nation. His column is at http://www.nmpolitics.net/index/2009/12/the-majority-of-americans-overruled-by-a-minority/#comment-9481.
The author's line of inquiry is utterly befuddling, because it leaves so many obvious questions unasked, as well as unanswered. Are not Christians free to practice their Christianity, whichever form they practice, here? Yes, unequivocally. So what is missing? Is there a point to defining this as a Christian nation? Is it not enough to know that one can practice and believe as one wants, and to know that more of our citizens are Christians of some kind than any of the minority faiths? Doesn't the author's desire to ask candidates if they would uphold this as a Christian nation go against the spirit, if not the letter, of Article VI of the Constitution?
Did any of the Church Fathers mention the need for a nation to be Christian in order for individual Christians to be fully Christian? If we post the Ten Commandments (and the Beatitudes?) everywhere, mention God (and Jesus?) on our money, aren't we just adding to the trappings that the author sees as insufficient? Does such lip-service make the country or its Christians more Christian?
How would a Christian country behave? What would its domestic and foreign policies look like, and how would they differ from what we now have in place? Would it resemble the Vatican? Is there another Christian country in the world that could serve as a model?
More fuzziness is apparent in the author's discussion of the Christian beliefs and culture of his youth, and his jump to the Pledge's mention of God. Isn't it rather narrow-minded to assume that "God", wherever it appears, refers to the Christian God, or the author's idea of the Christian God? In the Declaration of Independence the authors mention "Nature's God" and the Creator: no mention of Christianity or Jesus is made. Would he like us to believe that that omission was inadvertent? Even though most of the endorsers were, themselves, one form of Christian or another? Aren't Christian martyrs through the ages revered for having shown dedication to their faith in the face of actual repression and persecution? Isn't their personal courage emphasized, rather than the need for the state to be Christianized? Weren't previous Christian-identified countries nonetheless responsible for some horrific persecutions of minority faiths, including Jews and unorthodox Christians? What is the good of a nation identifying as Christian if it does not behave at least humanely?
In what way have our courts said that there is no God? Does it matter to a Christian what they say? The courts are meant to define and interpret our laws. Are they to be charged with deciding a national theology as well? Should the laws of Christianity – and what would those be? – supersede the common law? In the Hebrew Bible, many of the laws mentioned there are barbaric by today's standards. How are we to decide which laws to use, and which to discard, and who is to make those decisions? Are they to be binding on those who are not Christian? Are non-Christians, who are full citizens according to current laws, invited to participate in making those decisions?
The author says the majority is "letting" the minority dictate to them. If that is true, why is that a problem if the majority is giving its consent?
In short, it seems that this question or complaint is a shorthand offered to those with similar beliefs, the purpose of which is to evoke the sense of being persecuted that is usually the experience of a minority. It seems that what the author is complaining of is not that America is not a Christian nation with Christian trappings, but that America is not an exclusively Christian (or theistic) nation. But it's hard to tell for sure.