Jul 20, 2012 - By Doug Hill Pastor, Pavillion United Methodist ChurchWe've just celebrated Independence Day in an election year. It brings up an ongoing debate: one that centers on the question of whether the United States is a "Christian nation."
The answers will vary. Much of this has to do with the way the question is phrased.
"Is the United States a Christian nation?" and "Was the United States founded as a Christian nation?" are two different questions, and they might get two different answers from the same person.
There are those who claim that the United States is not, and has never been, a "Christian Nation." Those on this side of the issue point out that George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton did not attend church regularly.
One debunker by the name of Rupert Holmes reports that Washington even went out of his way to avoid invoking the authority of Christ.
Those who feel that America is a "Christian Nation" of course have a response to the above. They point out that Washington was a Christian, as was John Adams. Thomas Jefferson attended church regularly and publicly announced that he was a Christian.
As President, Jefferson signed bills appropriating federal money to support Christian missionaries in their evangelizing efforts among the tribes in the Northwest Territory. He even wrote a book on the "Morals of Christ."
Does any of this settle the question of whether the United States is a "Christian Nation"? Of course not.
But there is a more important question to be asked and answered: "Are you a Christian citizen?"
Are you doing everything you can to further the cause of Christ in your church, your home, and your workplace and the community? When you show up at the ballot box, do you vote according to party loyalty or do you vote a Christian conscience?
Do you even show up at the ballot box at all? Do you fulfill the "great commandment" found in Deuteronomy 6:5, and echoed by Jesus in Matthew 22:37?
Another way to put it is this: If being a Christian were a crime, and if you were arrested for it, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
The answer will be found in the way you live your life. And the way you live your life will go a long way toward answering our original question: "Is the U. S. a Christian Nation?" If the answer to that question is to ever be a resounding "yes," then we must all answer the call to be Christian citizens.
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