When America Isn’t a Christian Nation Anymore

June 27, 2012

Is America a Christian nation?

For two centuries, Christian have enjoyed majority status in America.  I guess that qualifies America as something of a Christian nation.

It’s pretty great being in the majority.  When you want something done, you have people on your side to make it happen.  And Christians have gotten their way on a lot of things in America.  That’s not bad in itself.  It’s just how society works.  Majority rules.

But if you’re like me and you enjoy being the majority, the future should look a little scary.  The statistics on Christianity in America aren’t going anywhere but down.  It’s possible that at some point, Christians will be the minority in America.

All this time, Christians have had control.  And we haven’t always been completely fair or loving really all that “Christian” while we’ve been in charge.

And it makes me wonder…how will Christians expect to be treated in America, when we are the minority?

It’s Good to Be the King

I loved being a big brother.

Being a big brother means having a lot of control.  Who’s always left in charge when Mom and Dad are away?

Who can cause bodily harm to little brothers, and then pay them off for their silence?

It’s good to be the king, when it comes to the brotherly pecking order.

But my parents warned me.  One day my “little” brother would not be so little, and I might find that he won’t be so generous to me when he is in a position of control.

For two-hundred years, Christians have been America’s “big brother.”  We’ve got a lot of little brothers and sisters.  They are scrappy little minority groups, who depend on the benevolent majority to look out for their welfare.  But like real little brothers and sisters, it looks like we’ve got a lot of little siblings that are growing up…and they might even grow up to be bigger and stronger than us.

Let’s Put It To a Vote

History shows that just because Christians are put in charge, it doesn’t mean the result is a “Christian” nation.  For over a thousand years, Europe fought the same wars, and had the same power struggles, just with a new “Christian” label.

History also shows that just because Christians are put in charge, it doesn’t mean they have the best ideas about how to run a society.  Prohibition, anyone?

And history shows that Christians can rarely agree with one another about how to run a society.  Heck, Christians came to America for religious freedom…and then immediately started putting each other on trial for heresy.  Yay, freedom!

But here we are, often trying to maintain a Christian society, trying to keep America from “going to hell” by any means necessary.  If that means voting on the rights of minority groups, so be it.  Even though, at no other point in American history have the rights of minorities been put up for a vote by the majority.  Emancipation, suffrage, civil rights: none of them determined by a vote of the majority.  All of them determined by the will of the government.  How far would women’s suffrage have gotten if it was put up to a vote among men?  So how exactly does it make sense for the majority to be voting on the marriage rights of the few?

Compassion or Coercion 

Christians, we have to ask ourselves if we, as a majority group, have treated others as we would have them treat us.

We have minority groups that think we ignore them, or don’t respect them, or even hate them.  And for the most part, they are probably right.

So if the shoe was on the other foot, how should we expect to be treated?  How mad will we be when we are ignored, disrespected, and hated, and we have no recourse?  Would we want the non-Christian majority voting on our rights?

When we are a minority, it will be a blessed victory in the eyes of a lot of people.  They will say they have escaped the thumb of a narrow-minded, bigoted tyrant.

If we want to preserve America for our children and grandchildren, we have to create a society where Christians will actually be missed when we are gone.  People should reminisce about all the good Christians did, rather than the fights we fought.

And that means leading with compassion, not coercion, while we’re still in charge.

What do you think?  How could Christians expect to be treated if we were suddenly a minority group?  Do you think that’s where we are headed?

18 responses to When America Isn’t a Christian Nation Anymore

  1. I like your reminder that our Founding Father’s established a representative republic, where law rules, rather than a democracy, where the majority rules. Unfortunately, we have been told for the last forty years or more that we live in a democracy by the press and the senators and the country as a whole is beginning to believe it.

    I don’t necessarily agree with equating marriage to voting. Marriage is not a right, otherwise, we would let anyone marry whomever and whatever they chose. So many people don’t get married for various reasons. However, making a marriage a right is probably the natural consequence for not being kinder and more humble in how we treat the LBGT community, for the heterosexual community in treating marriage as a fling, not a lifelong commitment and for all the laws we have created in terms of hospital visitation rights, death benefits and divorce, etc, ad nauseum.

    The perspective on your article that I have is coming from reading Judges. We are following the way of the Isrealites after God set them up in a cushy nation that he called “The Promised Land.” They turned their back on Him crediting themselves for their situation(kind of like what Christians have done in the past). As a result, He removed His blessing on them and they became enslaved or endured famine or other hardships. I don’t really like the whole idea of being enslaved or my children being enslaved. This is why I would want our nation to turn back to Him, not because Christians are so much better at being in charge or deserve it. On the other hand, God did all those things to the Isrealites to humble them, which is a good thing.

    I think there will come a time when people will remember the good that Christians did, but it will be long after we have been enslaved and they have new despots to subjugate them.

    • Yeah, the slippery slope of “who will we let marry” is a tempting argument. But the way I look at is this: marriage is a human institution, not a strictly Christian one. Every culture has married people (so far as I know.) Christians refer to Genesis at some point during nearly every wedding ceremony, indicating that we believe marriage is not a “Christian” institution, but a human one. Certainly, we have a definition of proper, God-honoring marriage. But there have been millions of marriages that have met the basic requirement of “1 man + 1 woman” that have still not honored God in any way.

      I guess I’m just too much of a Libertarian to care what other people are doing. :)

    • “I like your reminder that our Founding Father’s established a representative republic, where law rules, rather than a democracy, where the majority rules. Unfortunately, we have been told for the last forty years or more that we live in a democracy by the press and the senators and the country as a whole is beginning to believe it.”

      Oh, if only this was still being taught in the public schools! If only.

  2. Theocracy was God’s idea. Kings and rulers were man’s ideas. Remnants are the reason that Israel out survived most of the nations that tried to put it to death and won victory over the few that have still tried. Nothing like baby brother showing up to a fight and outgunning all the big brothers and their friends. :)

    In the US we have both Christian and deist roots – you know some of them were Unitarians. Had it been entirely up to the Pilgrims, it would have been a completely Christian nation. Read the Mayflower Compact.

    In the end, I am sort of glad that it is all running a muck. Where persecution comes, the real Christians are empowered. Look at the Chinese underground church, it is flourishing! I don’t mind us getting to a place where Christians in name only find no value in calling themselves Christian. When it becomes about putting your life on the line for what you claim to have faith in, it will be very different.

    Politically I am voting for Romney because I BELIEVE he best represents biblical ideals. I don’t care if he is a Christian or not. BTW – the Christian vote if everyone shows up is between 20 and 30% of the US. We are already a minority.

    Do I think a nation with biblical morals is a good thing. I sure do. But I think it’s better if parents really parent their kids to live a godly life in spite of the laws of the land. In every nation that has oppressed Christians, God’s laws are still truth.

    The Church of Jesus Christ has the only living and powerful God; it’s time we started using that power and got out the philosophical debate religion.

  3. This is a spot-on comment which can equally apply to large parts of the church in the UK.

    I’d love to know, though – who are the churches that inspire you positively about this? It would be great to hear some encouragement on this as well as hearing where we have gone wrong. I am passionate about encouraging the church through the example of inspirational others.

    Grace and peace to you mate,

    Ed

    • Frankly, I’d love some encouragement too. :) I think the people who get it right are often not as vocal and noticed as the others. I know they are out there. They must be, and I am still an optimist. I just don’t know where exactly they are.

      • @Matt and Ed,

        Be encouraged! Even now there are those of us who are returning to The Book of Acts and the shelter of organic, covenantal sonship who are seeking to undo the damages man has done to The Church our Jesus Himself is building.

        Until He returns, we have time! We do! Stripping off the burdens of man’s version of Christianity and putting on the robe of sonship is a great place to start.

        Be encouraged, also, that Jesus is watching, and I don’t think He is too amused at what’s going on in His Name.

  4. Color me shocked, Matt Appling, but I do believe this is the first time you have said something that makes sense and we agree upon. Since Toucan Sam is your inspiration, that explained to me why your posts were so fruity.

    However.

    “The biggest problem with Christians today is that no one wants to kill them anymore.” Soren Kierkegaard

    The day is coming when Christianity will fall in America. And in The World. We will be sifted, sifted, sifted, and threshed and what remains will be The Church. Many will falter. Many will run. Many will denounce Christ. But there will always be a Remnant. I firmly believe this is inevitable.

    I’m not saying Jesus will fall. I’m not saying that Heaven will be destroyed or that The Spirit will be silenced. I am saying that we, this side of Heaven, who call on God as Father, will indeed be persecuted, imprisoned, and killed because of Him. Just like Jesus said. But He is Sovereign, and no amount of bloodshed can change that.

    When the crap hits the fan, (and it will), we will see who the sheep are and who the goats were. In accordance with The Scripture, I pray daily for His return. Let The World rattle its sabers like rabid dogs at The Gates. They gloated over the death of Jesus and paraded themselves about like talking monkeys drunk on fermented bananas, but my didn’t their celebration turn to horror when He was resurrected! Right now they are gloating. Right now they are parading their hatred of Jesus openly and with extreme impudence. No fault of their own, they are merely being led away by their own sins unto death.

    Until The World erupts against us, we simply need to have outstretched hands of invitation, warring when necessary, loving when needed.

    Thank you for reading.

  5. I think (as others have basically said as well) that actual practicing Christians stopped being a majority in this country many years ago. We are a _culturally_ Christian nation, and are even diverging from that at this point.

    But at the same time, I think that if we actually worked together on the things that matter instead of the things that don’t, we’d have enough of a voting bloc to do something. Now to convince the world that what _I_ think is the most important thing really is the most important thing!

    On another note though…I think that the way to change our nation for the good isn’t the political route (although I’d love to have representation at every level of government that actually _represents_ me and my beliefs). I think we need to look to ourselves. Fix ourselves. Follow Jesus. When we manage to do that, we will find ourselves in the midst of the next “great awakening.” But as long as church sticks to being “seeker sensitive” and never gets to the meat and potatoes of being a follower of Jesus, we’ll never get there.

    The easier thing is to blame it all on the politicians. Let’s do that instead.

    • “But as long as church sticks to being “seeker sensitive” and never gets to the meat and potatoes of being a follower of Jesus, we’ll never get there.”

      You mean that we need to stop modifying Jesus to fit our cultural narrative and actually return Him to the place of Sovereignty and Power that is His?

      Oh my. That means we will have to stop playing as a social club, as a forum for rockstar pastors who write a new book every three months, as a hip, cuttng-edge, and cool Jesus church where we have coffee shops and bookstores, and simplify ourselves down to a Book of Acts approach? No. It ain’t gonna happen. We know what The Spirit wants. We know how He needs to move with the times and we know how to present Him so He is easier to accept and more approachable. It’s all about creating an atmosphere.

      Melissa, Brava! I couldn’t agree with you more, and I’m sure many others would echo your statement!

    • You’re right! It’s those sneaky politicians’ fault!

      As you mentioned, the inescapable hurdle is trying to get the Christians on the same page. I just don’t think there’s any hope for that. Even while Jesus was talking, James and John and some others were arguing about who would be the greatest in the coming kingdom.

      • @Matt:

        “As you mentioned, the inescapable hurdle is trying to get the Christians on the same page. I just don’t think there’s any hope for that.”

        Inescapable? No hope? Hmm.

        Have you met Jesus? He’s all about making the impossible possible.

        Buck up, Matt! Even I am willing to admit when I am wrong to posture myself more properly as being a son. Surely you can admit you are wrong in saying there is no hope for Christian Unity. It is going to happen. There just will be some threshing/sifting, hurt feelings, wounded egos, and general chaos first. Jesus is the ultimate divider and the ultimate uniter. It’s His Church, after all. We are merely individual members. I know you know this, Matt. Don’t let your flesh tell you otherwise.

  6. Unfortunately people can be duped into thinking all kinds of untrue things. Just repeat a lie over and over again and people will forget that it just isn’t true. News Media–if they keep saying it it must be true–right? No, of course not. “According to blah, blah blah…” I’m not saying the numbers aren’t falling but it’s not at all what they would have you think!

    Some sobering statistics to wake and shake all of you up! And…if you’re truly worried about America’s status as a Christian nation you should get out and evangelize your fellow Americans. Inner-city children are killing each other but in Christ, Jesus they can experience a new birth and go on to make a difference. Don’t let the telling of lies color the truth. America is a Christian nation so speak up and speak out–it’s time to become Christ’s Ecclesia–His called out Church! As His Church, we are One with Him and we are of Christ’s Body, so stop listening to their lies and start winning even more souls. The GLBT’s have one thing right, and Hitler said the exact same thing–”Whoever wins the children wins!”

    The following statistics were as of the end of 2010. Christians who declared as such made up 79.5 % of the American population. America’s population the same year was 308 Million. Christians made up close to 80% (some say 86%) of our population so why are you buying into the lies of our enemies? Did the numbers change in two years, no doubt they did. Get out and change the numbers even more to the good and win more souls for Christ! Amen.
    http://christianity.about.com/od/denominations/p/christiantoday.htm

    Do some of you honestly believe that our Constitution would ever allow one group to line up and kill Christians, Jews, Muslims? In fact, any particular group at all? Please. That’s almost absurd. We’ll experience a shaking or awakening–it’s up to us.
    There are 2.18 BILLION Christians worldwide and the numbers are burgeoning as we speak. We represent fully 1/3 rd. of the total population of Earth. Not too shappy I’d say.

    Hbr 12:26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”

    Hbr 12:27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken–that is, things that have been made–in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.

    Hbr 12:28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,

    Hbr 12:29 for our God is a consuming fire.

  7. Jason Cormier July 2, 2012 at 9:02 am

    We have only ever been a Christian nation in name. In truth we have more or less been a somewhat moral secular nation. For me actions are what define you and not words.

  8. That’s a bit of a tough pill to swallow, but I think you’ve got a point. America isn’t anywhere in Scripture and the Bible doesn’t say a nation has to be dominated by a particular religion. In fact most cultures seem to have been obliterated when that is the case.

    It is important to be careful of an “us vs. them” mentality though. Regardless of who is the minority/majority a big question is whether that should impact how we as Christians act?

  9. America never was a christian nation….But it doesn’t matter the religion is dying and you’d have to be a fool not to see that, ever generation the percentage of atheists increase.

  10. Great stuff. Good to find a kindred Spirit. I’ve written a lot about this very subject. In fact, i just posted today a post title American Christian or Christian Americans (antwuanmalone.com/american-christian-christian-american/). I think we are confused about where religion plays into politics. Great article!