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America Is NOT A ‘Christian Nation,’ So Take Your Damn Religion Out Of My Government

Our government's supposed to serve our people, not to force the religion-based values of a vocal 'Christian Nation' minority onto the rest of us.

Our government’s supposed to serve our people, not force the religion-based values of a strident “Christian Nation” minority onto the rest of us. Yet somehow, right-wing Evangelical “Christians” have taken over the GOP, and now the GOP has taken over America.

As Americans, we’re all entitled to our faiths and belief systems. But our freedom of religion — as enshrined in the First Amendment — holds that religion should not impose itself on our government or be used to deny rights to our people. Yet our federal government and many of our state legislatures are now run by religious zealots who howl about Sharia law in Muslim countries while imposing what feels more and more like Sharia law to the rest of us.

And guess what? The U.S. is NOT — and never has been — a “Christian Nation” as 44 percent of Republicans claim…At least not their kind of Christian.

10 toxic and destructive “Christian Nation” lies debunked.

1.America is NOT a “Christian nation.” The Pew Research Center’s 2015 Religious Landscape Study finds 70 percent of us are Christian, but only 25.4 percent identify as Evangelical Protestants. Among that 25.4 percent, only 55 percent say they’re conservative. The rest see themselves as centrist-to-moderate (27 percent),  liberal (13 percent), or they don’t know (6 percent)*.

2. America was not founded as a “Christian nation” either. Our founding fathers came from various Christian backgrounds, but most were influenced by Deism. Deists believe in a creator, but embrace reason over religion. Neither the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, nor anything else our founding fathers wrote say anything about our being a “Christian Nation.” In fact, they took great care to use neutral, inclusive, and non-religion specific language for the concept of “God,” including “Providence” and the “Creator.”

3. No, we are not persecuting you. Right-wing evangelicals keep howling about persecution every time a Court rules against 10 Commandments monuments in public spaces, or when the government steps in to stop so-called Christians from bullying young girls, LGBT people, Muslims, Jews, women, and others. But guess what? Religious tolerance does not mean we have totolerate your intolerance.

4. God did not create the world 6,000 years ago. Young Earth Creationists believe God created the world just 6,000 years ago and that dinosaurs lived side-by-side with humans. This flat-out rejection of history, science, and massive amounts of evidence isn’t just counter-productive, it poses a dire threat to the rest of us. Furthermore, children raised with these beliefs and whose parents use “school choice” vouchers for “Christian” schools and bible-based curricula are being hobbled and deprived of their right to a quality education.

5. Climate change is not “natural.” It’s one thing to believe climate change is “naturally occurring” because you think the Bible tells you so. It’s quite another thing for our leaders to put our people and the entire world in danger (while enriching fossil fuel companies) through their bogus, religion-based climate change denial. More than a billion people who live in low-lying areas are under threat of rising sea levels. Even those of us who feel safe may not realize that global warming is also doing a number on our health.

6. The Bible does not ban abortions and birth control. Face it. The Republicans don’t keep trying to defund Planned Parenthood because they care about “life.” They just want to deny health care to low-income women. The Bible has no bans on abortion, either in the Old Testament nor in the new one. But the Bible does clearly hold girls and women as inferior. In modern times, forcing girls and women to have children they don’t want is a cruel way to deprive them of their reproductive rights and keep them from going to college, launching careers, and pursuing their dreams.

7. Rape is not part of God’s plan. Indiana’s treasurer Richard Mourdock raised eyebrows back in 2012 when he declared that rape and pregnancy is “something God intended to happen.” No, rape is something the rapist intended to happen. But the fact that his fellow Republicans didn’t kick him out of the party shows the entire party doesn’t give a damn about women, their mental and physical well-being, or the fact that if they get pregnant, they shouldn’t be forced to choose the life of a blastocyst, embryo, or fetus at the expense of their own.

8. Being LGBT is not a choice. It’s genetic, they’re born that way. You’d think these so-called “Christians” would know better since they’re always claiming God doesn’t make mistakes. Denying transgender people the right to use the bathroom of their choice, trying to “pray away the gay,” and subjecting your-your gay or lesbian child to “conversion therapy” and/or sending them away to conversion camps is a flat-out immoral violation of their human rights.

9. God does NOT always help those who help themselves. Right-wing Christians and the GOP aren’t content with inflicting misery on women, children, LGBT people, and non-Christians. They also love kicking the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society while they’re down. They don’t believe the government should help, because our nation’s unfortunate are lazy, inferior, and have somehow fallen from grace. The fact that we blame ourselves when we’re struggling reveals the tenacious depth of our nation’s Calvinist/Puritan roots.  But while the values of independence and hard work are laudable, people also often have bad luck. Letting people go hungry, lose their homes, get sick, and die from preventable causes is cruel and also makes for bad public policy. After all, good public policy seeks to have a reasonably healthy, happy, prosperous, and productive population.

10. Charity can’t replace welfare. Right-wing Christians and their GOP lawmakers say we don’t need to “force” Americans to pay for social safety net programs with their precious tax dollars. After all, that’s why we have charities that we can give to voluntarily. But a recent study by Texas A&M economist Jonathan Meer shows why that won’t work: Mainly because when disaster strikes and people need charity the most, fewer people are able to give. The 2008 recession saw a massive drop in giving that never returned to previous levels, possibly because of increased uncertainty. And what about churches? A 2013 article from Church Finance Today reveals that even the most church-going parts of the country don’t have that kind of money. “68% of churches in the West-South Central U.S., and 64% of churches in the East-South Central U.S. have expenses exceeding income.”

Former President Jimmy Carter, a baptist, once noted that a “Christian Nation” isn’t just bad for our country, it’s also bad for the church.

“When a group of Christians try to implant through government our beliefs on others as superior, that subverts the basic constitutional prohibition concerning separation of church and state. And when we try to use the federal government to intercede in religious affairs, it inherently weakens the unique character of Christ’s kingdom.”

*Yes, I know the Pew Survey figures add up to 101 percent.

Featured image: Public Domain 2009 FEMA/Bill Koplitz via Wikimedia Commons (U.S. Capitol Building with cross added); Public Domain via Pixabay (stormy sky).

About the Author

Elisabeth Parker

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Elisabeth Parker is a writer, editor mom, news and politics junkie, and recovering web designer.

Comments 36

  1. I agree with all 10, but the last one is especially perplexing. If “charity can replace welfare” then why hasn’t it already? There is nothing that stops churches or individuals from producing extraordinarily higher volumes of charity *right now*, and yet they don’t. Why is that? Oh right. “If the big bad gubmint didn’t take away all my money, I’d turn around and give it to poor people.” Right. (PS: Take a look at any church’s finances. A teensy weeny fraction goes to actual charity. Most goes to upkeep and building of their fancy, stainglass clubhouses, then another significant fraction goes to prosthelytizing to get new club members, then another to social events for patrons, and wayyyy down there at the bottom, you’ll find “charitable works.” Bah.

  2. Very odd and ill informed article. 1. Christians do not run the government right now. Trump made it clear he is not a believer. 2. Much of what she wrote is factually inaccurate. 3. Being pro-life does not require you to be a Christian. It is the logic belief of a freedom loving person. 4. I have never met anyone who believes all welfare is wrong. I could go on, but almost every point made by the author is wrong or contextually invalid.

    1. Freedom-loving people want to force women to have children they don’t want? Trump isn’t on board with the right-wing Christian agenda? I call BS.

    2. Take it from a non-Christian, we are living in an extremely Christian country. Politicians justify their laws and policies siting Christian “values”, people protest abortion on religious grounds, and God forbid a candidate doesn’t act like a good, church attending Christian! They’d never get elected – this year people were upset the Hillary was a methodist and people who knew her had to take a stand and say how important her faith was to her. Eight years ago people exploded because they thought Obama was a Muslim.

    3. Sorry Doug, but you are the very odd and ill informed. Everyone point that was made is factually accurate. You are correct in that being Pro-life doesn’t mean you have to be a Christian, I am Methodist, but I am pro-choice. The only people who seem to be making the most noise about pro-choice vs. pro-life are the Evangelical Christians, Puritans/Calvinist ……
      Where have you been hiding? Almost to a person, the Republicans cite personal Christian beliefs behind the legislation they introduce to the legislatures. Probably most of which comes from the American Legislative Exchange Council….. You have to be some kind of stupid to not believe that the current crop of Republican legislators are driving the Puritan/Calvinist beliefs about work ethic, how a working MAN, is soooo much better then a non-working MAN … that little belief is reflective of the overall doctrine of the Puritan/Calvinist Churches. Probably why they were forced to leave England in the first place, the English got tired of theirbullshit …

  3. I find it very funny the USA even considers themselves to be a ‘Christian’ state. From the outside it looks the opposite. Your gun laws enable people you go into schools and kill children, after Sandy Hook, I knew nothing would change your laws on gun control, when your society deems it acceptable to kill children. Not a Christian value. When the GOP tries to take away subsidies and health care for the poor and especially the poor child, this is not a Christian value. The American tainting and manipulating of the bible’s core message is a kin to radicals that do the same to the Quran’s message. Stop claiming to be a Christian state, it makes you look like such a hypocrite.

  4. Small but important typo. Extra period at the end of the third point.

    Thank you for so clearly expressing this!

  5. Totally agree with all your points. #10 is especially perplexing to me. I’d rather do away with this concept of charity and use tax dollars appropriately. Charity is like giving a person a fish instead of teaching them to fish. It’s not a long term solution and targets only those the charitable organization chooses. Our tax dollars can be used to establish programs that enable people to be self sufficient. The return on the dollar is much greater – I’m an example of this. I was poor growing up so we had government help. Now I pay a lot back to society, more than the government invested in me.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Maha…I know people who grew up poor, in abusive homes, and/or with parents who were members of a cult or fundamentalist religion. Without public school and public services, these people never would have made it out. And it’s not just about lifting the poor out of poverty, as important as that is. We need to invest in all children, in education, and in our future. And since the Reagan years, we’ve stopped doing this and our schools have declined and we’ve gotten poorer.

  6. I appreciate this article and it speaks volumes. However, some of the scientific facts presented are not correct, so they might want to be revisited before being used as argument.
    First, there is strong evidence that man and dinosaurs did live at the same time. Most scientist that are not into hiding human history realize this proves man is older than some want to believe (not that the earth is only six thousand years old).
    Secondly, Climate change IS natural. And cyclic. When drilling in the ice in the arctic there are layers that show ice ages about every 10000 years. Is man contributing? There is that discussion, but it is not the only discussion. Perhaps we should be teaching that the earth is very very old and we will have another ice age, possibly soon and we could be using science to build domes cities or whatever it might take to prepare for that inevitablity

    1. Sorry, but you’re wrong. Dinosaurs went extinct long before humans emerged. And while climate change has occurred naturally, human consumption of fossil fuels is what’s driving the current rise in global temperatures. You’re entitled to your beliefs, but people who don’t believe in actual science don’t belong in positions of power.

      1. And I am sorry, You are incorrect. There is evidence such as coexisting footprints found in digs. Do the research. Be open to an idea that is not founded in what the “approved” science tells us. There is much out there that is hidden because it is not in alignment with what we are taught. As I said, this is not proving that dinosaurs are only six thousand years old, but rather that mankind is older than we are are led to believe.

        And, there is plenty of science to back me up. Sorry that you have not run across any of this in your research. This is not a”belief” as you have indicated.

        1. Share your research. If you count birds as some present-day reptiles as “dinosaurs”, then you are sort of correct. You brought it up, share all the science that backs you up.

  7. We are not a Christian nation, but our forefathers founded our nation on Christian principles and most Americans believe in Christ’s teachings. Unfortunately, there is much misunderstanding of what Christ actually taught. The Bible has the truth, but many people misinterpret the Bible. One should not try to get his understanding of current science from reading the Bible. And scientists have not yet discovered all the truth.

    1. You have a point. Unfortunately, our government is currently run by people who have a cruel, warped, and destructive interpretation of Christianity.

    2. No, America was not built on Christian principles. America was built on principles that were embraced by various paths that were also embraced in Christian teachings. Christianity is not the only path with exclusive claim to any particular principles.
      Now if you look at the foundation of America with the evidence of ideologies expressed, you will find a Pagan ideology.
      To begin, start with the Declaration of Independence. Christians often claim three words to show a Christian foundation, “Creator” and “Nature’s God”.
      Creator does not stand alone, the reference is to “their” Creator, a Pagan/Deist individual perception. Christianity tends to refer to “our” Creator, one Creator identified for all persons.
      Nature’s God, again a Pagan/Deist perception in which is recognized in many ways with many Gods ranging from Apollo and Surya as Sun Gods to Neptune, Poseidon and Yamm the Gods of the seas, and then there are Libertas the Goddess of Liberty, Ceras Goddess of Corn, Vanura God of rain, Agni God of fire and thousands of other Nature Gods/Goddesses.
      According to scripture, Jesus said, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.” [John 8:23] and “My kingship is not of this world…” [John 18:36].
      Creator is anything but referring to the Judeo-Christian “God”.

      The ancient Greeks invented democracy. The word comes from the Greek demos meaning “the people,” and kratein meaning “to rule.” The two words combined literally means “rule by the people.” Later, the Romans took some of their governmental ideas from the Greeks and evolved a representative democracy which had representatives from the nobility in the Senate and representatives from the commoners in the Assembly. The Roman government divided between these two branches and they voted on various issues. Even Common Law derives from the Pagan Romans and Saxons.

      Our founding fathers based the United States government on the Greek, Roman, and Anglo-Saxon ideas along with freethought ideas from the Enlightenment. Jefferson saw the Anglo-Saxons as originators of the institutions of representative government and trial by jury. The terms, “Life and liberty,” “The pursuit of happiness,” Self-evident truths,” according to Mapp, “were not just glittering ornaments to brighten somber discourse. They were terms specifically defined in the writings of the Scottish Enlightenment to which Jefferson had been introduced by William Small and which he continued to study with great avidity.” [Mapp] Of course the Enlightenment went against the grain of Christian, Jewish, and Islamic thought, and by this standard, meets the requirements of Pagan thought.

      Of course the ancient Greeks, Romans and Anglo-Saxons practiced Paganism and thus our form of government derives entirely from Pagan ideas.

      Look at government buildings, their design is based on Pagan temples as opposed to something like the Temple of Solomon or a Christian Cathedral.
      Atop the Capitol Building we do not find any Judeo-Christian symbols but we do find the Pagan statue of Freedom.
      Our Justice system also derived from Pagan Greek and Roman concepts and represented by the Roman Goddess Justicia, the ancient Greek Pagans referred to her as Themis and ancient Egyptian Pagans knew her as Ma’at.
      The Great Seal of the United States which we find on the US$ shows a Pagan pyramid and the words ANNUIT COEPTIS which according to Gaillard Hunt, the Department of State’s first publisher on the seal in 1892 are an allusion to line 625 of Virgil’s book IX of the Aeneid, “JUPPITER OMNIPOTES, AUDACIBUS ANNUE COEPTIS,” (All-powerful Jupiter favor [my] daring undertakings).

      I could go on, but lets look at what we find in Christian scripture, the first of the 10 Commandments.
      “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
      NO, the evidence is clear, America was not founded as a Christian nation.

  8. Not ALL people are COMPLETELY one way! I get really tired of seeing distinct lines drawn between the right and left. There are plenty of us out here in the middle that are getting sooooo tired of hearing each “side” bash each other and spew hate! No matter what your faith is, or if you none at all, it all boils down to love, acceptance, and understanding of one another and allowing everyone the right to their beliefs and opinions. Live and let live – give and let give, with no judgements! Just as one cannot throw ALL liberals into one bag, one cannot throw ALL conservatives into one bag! There are good and bad in all walks of life and all the gray in between. And just as there are some Christians out there that have ruined other’s opinions of Christianity, there are just as many liberals out there ruining people’s opinions of liberalism! If everyone could just agree to disagree and not give a care about what “everyone” else is doing or saying, or thinking, and stop taking it as a personal insult, and to heart, well, maybe then, just maybe, we could all get along! It’s not my side of the road to worry about what path my fellow beings have chosen, only to worry about what I have chosen and be the best to EVERYONE that I possibly can! Who cares WHEN the Earth was made or HOW? It won’t change a thing to actually KNOW this information for certain now will it? People need to stop worrying and concentrating on the things that don’t even matter and worry about the REAL issues! The HERE and NOW! And STOP spewing hate and trying to PROVE they are right and the other is wrong! Who cares whether someone AGREES with you or not? It only affects and changes you if you ALLOW it to! Take responsibility of monitoring yourselves, NOT everyone else in the world!

    1. @lid, I see where you are coming from, but the whole alive and let live is moot seeing that the Christian conservatives are using their religious ideologies to try to change laws, thus not letting us live. They try to outlaw abortion, gay marriage, restrict LGBT rights, etc. all based on their religious ideologies. This is straight discrimination.

  9. Only 13% Liberal and 87% hypocrites. That definitely does not make us a Christian Nation.
    Like it or not that is a fact. 87% whining about my statement does not change the fact that if you were actually following Jesus’ teachings you would be a proud Liberal.

  10. Elisabeth, you are a typical hysterical liberal–it is thinking like this that got Trump elected. I agree with some of your points, but the overall context of your points—that “evangelicals” are somehow in charge, is just hysterical.

    Elisabeth, I am pro choice, like you. Unlike you, I respect the views of people that don’t support abortion. People are entitled to believe as they want, and, like it or not, in a democracy, if a majority are against something like abortion, then that’s how it is. It is highly unlikely abortion will be totally outlawed–again, you’re hysterical over the possibility Roe Wade may be over turned eventually; but if you bothered to understand anything about interpretive, versus literal, views of the constitution, you would understand the legal issues involved. It is not about abortion; it is about how things become law. Congress doesn’t have the backbone to pass a law making abortion legal. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe Wade, the congress could (and may, if the idiots in congress can grow some balls) pass a law legalizing it. That would make it legal the way it should be made legal–not some convoluted invention by the supreme court based on the 4th amendment right to privacy. Or, the states would decide for themselves whether to legalize. That is democracy Elisabeth. Stop being so hysterical

    Regarding climate change—I am not a denier at all–but I do have a science education–and people like you are so hysterical there is no reason with you. You claim it isn’t “natural”–care to explain the ice ages? Why did they happen numerous times in the last 20K years, long before humans did squat to the atmosphere–and oh, btw, when you furiously google why ice ages happened in order to refute me, please note that whatever you read IT IS ALL THEORY. I do not mean it is not true. I do mean, it is science’s best conclusion, based on what we know as of today–that is what a theory is. And that is what all the explanations about today’s climate are: theory . Translation: keep an open mind, because theories are just that.

    One last word on climate change: it is happening, so I am not arguing “whether” it is happening. But if you do even the slightest amount of study into the science to date (with an open, non hysterical mind) you will find there are huge, huge questions as to WHY things are happening. Yes, greenhouse gasses look like a culprit–but the science still has lots of questions that are not answered–like why the climate is not, in fact, hotter, given the amount of CO2 being spewed into the atmosphere. Given such mysteries, it is fair to say we just don’t fully understand what is going on. That doesn’t mean climate change doesn’t exist. Or that we should not formulate policy to address it. But people like you are so hysterical and irrational, it is ultimately pointless to reason with you, because you have an all or nothing mentality–and that is why policy gridlock happens.

    Finally, if I may recommend a book: “A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America”–i strong suggest you read it. I don’t know if you are a boomer–but even if you were born after the boomers, it is highly likely you have very influenced by their narcissistic and self-absorbed way of thinking and treating the world. I say that only because I think the liberal hysterial (lack of reason) is traced directly back to the boomers. Today’s irrational liberalism is the logical conclusion of the horseshit wrought by the boomer generation. And, you may note: both Hillary and Trump are boomers; Sanders was born 5 years before the accepted first birth year of boomers, but for all intent and purposes, he too is a boomer, in terms of when he came of age, and the influences he has lived under. I assume you supported either hillary or sanders, so you will take a hard look at boomers and question how it has influenced you, as well as the mess this country is in.

    1. I did read that article, and believe a lot of why we are in this situation is because baby boomers from both parties, didn’t want to pay taxes so the rest of us can have what they had. But I’m not being “hysterical.* Conservative policies are hurting people by holding corporations and the wealthy people who own them. If you have the luxury of being” in the middle,” then congratulations, you’re among a minority of people who are not being hurt by the Republican Party.

    2. I’m not hysterical. Conservative policies are hurting people, the American people did not vote for Donald Trump or a *unified Republican government,” and they’re acting like they have a mandate for their cruel and destructive agenda.

      1. I think your brand of liberalism is hysterical, even if you personally are not. I think a huge problem with establishment politics–and it doesn’t matter whether its liberalism or conservatism–they are both the exact same corrupt political system that dupes the average person into a team-mentality approach to governance. Which is great for the political class, because they want folks like you to be duped into rooting for your “team”–certainly not holding them accountable for good governance. So your team, as in liberals, offer you a stimulating brew of identity politics and ego-centric sound bites that speak to you, and make you believe in your team.

        The problem with your reasoning that government policy is “hurting” people is that it is based on a false premise. Where on earth do you get the idea our government should “do” for us? That our government “owes” us a damn thing, other than protecting us, and upholding the system of laws that guarantee our freedoms?

        It sucks if one is poor or has other problems. But the only idea this country was ever about–the only one it was founded on is FREEDOM. The a human being should be free to do as he/she pleases as long as he/she doesn’t interfere with the rights of others, or harm another person or property. That’s it. Nothing else. No entitlements, no free stuff, nothing.

        I am not against safety nets, or social spending–up to a point. The problem with today’s corrupt political system is that it asserts its reason for being is to “give” stuff to people. That never was, and should not be, what our government does. Why? Because by definition when you have people taking money from private citizens, then dolling it out, you end up with corruption–period.

        Anyway, I wish more Americans would wake up to the essential idea this country was founded on: Freedom. And hold the government accountable to upholding the laws that guarantee that in practice. And stop worrying about law after law after law that does nothing but feed the team mentality of supporting one party over the other. You are now owed anything, other than your freedom.

        Btw–saying “they’re acting like they have a mandate for their cruel and destructive agenda…”–is hysterical. You are aware that hillary only got what, 2 million more votes than Trump? You do realize that isn’t even 1% of the total US population? So, in fact, close to 49% of the voters DID vote for trump and his agenda. DO you not understand that when you so blissfully ignore the resulting votes of your fellow citizens?

  11. If xians don’t run the government right now, then why did that xian McDonnell say that the reason he wouldn’t allow a vote on Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court was because Obama never nominated a god-fearing man? YOU are the one who is lying, here, or you are simply too ignorant to understand the situation!

  12. I would have to disagree with your view of charity. I do want my hard earned money going to the charity of my choice. I can name a few government programs I believe are a waste of tax payers dollars but I have no control. Have you heard of the phrase “pork spending” in government?

    1. Here’s what it comes down to: In an economy that no longer has enough jobs for everyone, people need help from the government. You either believe that food, water, housing, healthcare are human rights — at least for children — or you don’t. Charities and churches are NOT able to reliably provide these necessities and we can’t just have entire families living in homeless encampments.

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