Not a Christian Nation

I support the National Day of Prayer.  It’s not unconstitutional; there is no imposition; one can pray to Whomever, whomever (only my God gets the capital–that’s how it works on my blog), or whatever they want, or to no one or nothing.  The recent court decision declaring that it violates the Constitution is nonsense, and it will be overturned.  The text of U.S. Public Law 324 clearly states that this is optional: ”The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.”

However, I do not agree with all the rhetoric in support of it based on the notion that “America is a Christian nation.”  Without a doubt, Judeo-Christian values, history and philosophy have informed, shaped and influenced this nation’s founding, laws and history, profoundly.   Yet, the definition of Christian is grounded in what one believes about the person of Jesus Christ, His death, and His resurrection.

Christianity is not a philosophy, ideology, political theory or worldview.  It can and does guide and shape those things; those things can and do arise and grow naturally out of  Scripture and tradition, of necessity as we strive to honor God with our lives.

Christianity itself, though, is about “Who do you say that [Jesus is]”, and what, precisely are you going to do with that answer? If you believe he is the Messiah, the God-man, the Christ who died for your sins and rose from the dead, and you surrender yourself to His grace and submit yourself to His Lordship in all things, then you can claim the name of Christian.  If you place your country above Him, you have, in fact, made an idol of your nation and violated the First and Second Commandments.

No where in our founding documents is the divinity of Christ, His atoning work on the cross for our sins, or His resurrection from the dead even implied.  They are political documents strongly influenced by Judeo-Christian ethics and values, but they are not Christian in the sense that “The Epistle To Hebrews” is Christian, or even “The Augsburg Confession,” or “The Catechism of the Catholic Church.”  All are written affirmations of who Jesus Christ was, His purpose and mission, His call and our response.

If you do not believe what Scripture proclaims and the Spirit confirms about Jesus Christ and answer His call to come to Him, grow in Him and go for Him, then nothing you write, say or do can rightly be characterized as Christian.

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