There are many who like to claim that America is a Christian nation. What that means though is up for debate. What does a nation have to do/say/believe/etc in order to qualify as a “Christian” nation? There isn’t an official list anywhere.
I’m going to take a stab at this. I welcome your thoughts on this too because I certainly don’t have the answers.
Are we a Christian nation because we elect people who campaigned and let everyone know they were a Christian? Is that all it takes? If so, then we’ve got that one down. Does making the claim about being a Christian make it so?
Are we a Christian nation because we follow Jesus command in the Great Commission? Well, we don’t endorse any religion in this country, so I’m not sure how we would meet this requirement.
Are we a Christian nation because we have political leaders who say “God bless the USA?” We’ve got that covered pretty well.
Are we a Christian nation because we follow Jesus example in the Sermon on the Mount as laid out in Matthew 5-7? I’d say we are pretty far off on that one.
Are we a Christian nation because of some ambiguous set of laws or policies that supposedly carry out Christianity – but only certain varieties of Christianity? If Christianity is just another weapon in the ongoing left-right political war in our nation, then we have that covered pretty well.
Are we a Christian nation because Christmas is a national holiday even though it’s more about Santa and consumerism and nostalgia rather than the Birth of Christ? Check, covered.
Are we a Christian nation because there are televangelists hawking really bad theology like the prosperity gospel and the Rapture? Definitely got that covered.
What is a Christian nation? Probably one that doesn’t get wrapped up in worrying about being labeled as a Christian nation for one thing. The focus wouldn’t be on national identity, but rather caring for the least and the lost. It would be a nation that would do what it could to get women and youth out of sexual slavery in our own nation. It would be a nation that would promote good stewardship of creation. It would be a nation that welcomed refugees fleeing war. It would be a nation that did what it could for the homeless and the poor. It would be a nation that valued human life from the very beginning to the very end. It would be a nation that focused more on seeing change in people, rather than locking them up. It would be a nation that actually faced its own sin of racism. It would be a nation that practiced the Sermon on the Mount as the highest virtue of the land.
Do we live in a Christian nation? Depends on how you define it. If you are looking at a superficial definition, then you don’t need to look very far or deep. But if you start to dig, you are going to be disappointed. Or maybe not. If we dropped the lie that we are a Christian nation, then maybe we could actually start living out what it means to be Christians.