Rick Perry says that he's not ashamed to admit that he's a Christian. But why would he be? If the nation is 75% or more Christian, why would there be any hesitation in admitting such a thing? Can you imagine a candidate  saying that they are against child rape? Against genital mutilation? Coming out as pro-dog? Of course this isn't even discussion because it's the norm.  But why the need to "admit" that you are a Christian? 

Mr. Perry seems to be holding up his religion like he has the Holy Grail. Michelle Bachman does the same. Yet American society doesn't seem to react. The Republican Party doesn't even react. If the country is presumably 75% Christian and we have one running on that principle, shouldn't we see them leading the polls or at least seeing a bump when they stand on the Bible like a soap box? Instead, what we have is a philanderer with a long history of ethics violations and a Mormon leading the way within a party noted as being "Christian". It's as if there is a rejection of Christianity going on. I would argue that this is exactly the case. 

The people that feel the need to note the US as a Christian nation are often deeply religious. You don't hear people that show up to church occasionally feeling the need to make this claim. They have insulated themselves inside of a sect of people whom speak of religion and Jesus as if he's involved in each and every move. For example, you might hear a new mother say, "I'm so tired but I know that where my strength ends, His begins." Does that means that they are infinitely energized or simply able to push through? If it's just pushing through, I wonder if people of other religions just fall over? Back to the point, most Americans, believers or not, do not relate daily life to a religion. People whom consider themselves "Strong Christians" make up less than 50% of the population. So when a person such as Rick Perry comes out and says that he's a strong Christian, he's only appealing to less than half of the country to start with. So are we a "Christian Nation" if that is true? Does being a "generally Christian" person get you into heaven or make us a Christian Nation?

On top of it, he appeals to the sensibilities of those that don't accept gays in daily life. He says that they shouldn't be in the military, Bachman calls it a disease. Currently only 43% of Americans think that Homosexuality is wrong. Poll Rick Perry specifically spoke out against gays openly serving in the military. Considering that 75% of the population is for gays openly serving, it would seem that we don't find that we agree with strict Christianity here either. 

So how are we a Christian nation? We allow all religions under the First Amendment, yet this opposes the First Commandment. We defend gays publicly as a society which does not sit well with Romans and Leviticus. We accept all races publicly which would not sit well with Jesus as he was happy to call the Canaanite woman a dog. We are cool with getting drunk, sexual relations that harm no one else. The largess of us reject violence whereas Jesus over turned tables in the temple and begged of his people to sell their cloaks for a sword then promised to come back and slay most of the world. So how again is that we are Christian? It would seem that in the public square we are anything but Christian. Maybe those that are deeply religious would serve themselves well to recognize that we are largely a nation of Christians (by default, but that's another blog), but we don't think or act in accordance with a Bible. This is why you cannot get elected while standing on your Bible. We publicly reject your religion even if we were to privately join in with you. This is the most Christian thing about us. Matthew 6:1  "Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." 

If you still think that we are a Christian Nation and would like to appeal to that nation, please lay out how we are a Christian Nation in the public square. Use national polls to support your point. Soon you'll see that in no way are we living in accordance with the Bible. Any principle such as don't steal or kill is found in nearly every society and did even at the writing of the Bible. So get specific or sit down because we don't want to hear it in the public square. I don't say this as an Atheist with contempt, I say it as an American Voter with contempt. 

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Tags: Christian Nation

Comment by anti_supernaturalist on December 18, 2011 at 1:12pm

** No executive privilege for God

Theocrat wannabes, like Perry, are fond of using phrases like 'xian country' or 'xian nation' since the words 'country' and 'nation' are ambiguous -- weasel words.

The US population in general is nominally xian. Nevertheless, as a form of government the US has always been a *secular state*. The Constitution precludes the US becoming another Iran or another Israel.

The first amendment forbids establishing a state religious institution. As James Madison explained, “. . . Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any Manner contrary to their conscience." 1 Annals of Congress 730. August 15, 1789.

• Two principles of secular politics arise out of freedom from state religious institutions:

1. Faith-based political ideology enjoys no advantage over any other political ideology because of its alleged divine origin.

2. No religious institution can assume a god-given right to exert secular power.

There is no executive privilege for God. No self-anointed god-proxy -- priest, pastor, rabbi, imam -- has a divine right to participate in or to dominate politics.

• Every ideology is a public object. All claimants to secular political power must open their ideologies to examination, scrutiny, and questioning. And if that questioning amounts to refuting faith-based claims? So much the worse for supernaturalism.

Religious institutions exhibit a poor record in dealing with challenges to their presumed god-authorized secular pretensions. What else could be expected from authoritarians?

the anti_supernaturalist

Comment by bob spencer on December 18, 2011 at 1:47pm

firstly let me inform you that i live over the pond so i don't quite understand what is going on in the American psyche. A Christian nation is a contradiction in terms. In the UK, Rick Perry is clearly seen ((by intellectuals here) as being barking mad. The rest of the  world (e.g Britain) doesn't need or want him. Secondly, as an outsider, what would be the best way to help?

Regards

Bob

Comment by Gaytor on December 18, 2011 at 2:04pm

Most of us recognize his instability as well. He's down to single digits in the Republican party which really means that about 3-5% of the country approves of him. Sadly, it's the crazy wheel that gets the coverage. 

I think that we just have to call them out when they say something crazy accurately. And on their policies. For example, Rick Perry has created jobs in Texas, but they are minimum wage jobs. And this during a boom time in oil in the oil rich state. When confronted on the killing of Cameron Todd Willingham as likely being a innocent man and why he allowed the execution, he shrugged it off as Willingham still having been a bad person. We must dig deeper and be accurate in our critiques of these people. When I receive ridiculous emails I respond to all recipients with links pointing out factual errors that have led to silly conclusions like Obama's long form birth certificate being faked. What this does is get the right information out there and discredit and embarrass those that sent it in the first place. A side benefit is I soon no longer receive political junk mail but rather get questions from hesitant friends whom apparently don't know how Google works. 

I say be vocal and accurate, but not rude. Soon enough others will look for your response and those on the megaphones spewing BS will see that everyone else sees it. Use links to credible sites as well. Good luck.

Comment by Dale Headley on December 18, 2011 at 4:57pm

   To begin with, the "Founding Fathers" were NOT Christians, despite what students at Liberty University are dishonestly taught.  Some, like Tom Paine and Benjamin Franklin, were virulently anti-Christian.  There is not a single word about God or gods in the Constitution, nor about Christianity.  There is a single allusion to a "creator" in the Declaration of Independence, but it is the "creator" of Thomas Jefferson's theology.  Jefferson was a deist, not a Christian.

   Secondly, it will eventually dawn on Americans (long after I'm dead, I'm afraid) that the rest of the world is rapidly rejecting Christianity.  With that awareness will come an increase in the number of Americans who, deep in their psyches, are NOT really religious, and they will begin to join the arc of history - the abandonment of religion in favor of science and reason.

   In terms of a lawmaker being religiously courageous, my nomination would go to Pete Stark, the California congressman who is the only one out of 535 members of Congress who is openly atheist.

Comment by Arcus on December 18, 2011 at 6:14pm

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The U.S. is slightly more secular than Iran.

Comment by Gaytor on December 18, 2011 at 9:22pm

That Creator is not named with any of the dozens of names attributed to the Abrahamic God. When you consider the times, pre evolution (other than in the mind of Michelangelo) and modern science, there was no other explanation for our existence, yet they still didn't name the "Creator" specifically. That's quite a secular move. 

Comment by Arcus on December 19, 2011 at 4:07am

"That's quite a secular move."

I would say it's quite the opposite. One of the underlying reasons for many to travel to the colonies was due to religious prosecution at home. That the writers of the declaration of independence and constitution did not specifically champion one religion, as opposed to the absolute monarchies of Europe, is reflective of these developments. Assuming that it is a secular move is a whitewashing of history. Merely because no individual religion was given priority cannot be taken as evidence that religion itself, and in particular Christianity, not having a privileged position in the society they aimed to create.

You are absolutely correct that it was a completely different time. While the founders may have had a secular political outlook and issues with the churches they certainly weren't atheists, and a disbelief in a higher power would have been deemed as close to preposterous by most at the time. 

Comment by Rob Klaers on December 19, 2011 at 5:30am

A single quote by one of the Founding Fathers himself should clear the question right up.. 

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries." - Thomas Jefferson, Article 11 Treaty of Tripoli, 1796

Also consider that 5 of the main 7 Founding Father's were Deists..  John Jay being the most prominent and Alexander Hamilton converting on his deathbed after the duel with Raymond Burr.  So that leaves Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, and Madison as Deists. As a side note, Franklin helped to open then first non-religious college in PA. 

 Christians have this propensity to claim things that aren't really theirs-- Christmas, Easter, potentially Halloween and of course the U.S. government. Many Christians think that just because there is a mention of "God" in the Declaration of Independence that therefore means Christian. As I explained to my Aunt and her husband some months back.. Without Christ there is no Christianity.'. That being the case since there is no mention of Christ in the Constitution - the very document which sets up our government, that therefore means we are not a Christian Nation. 
Christians also like to  ask "Why does our money have In "God We Trust On it"..?" Simple answer is-  on coins in 1864 right after the Civil War, then later on paper money in 1957. So that means it was not on money during the time of the Founding Fathers. You would think if we were a 'Christian Nation' as many claim either "In God We Trust' or a more appropriate "In Christ We Trust" would have been on money from the start.. but as I mention, neither was. 

Comment by Gaytor on December 19, 2011 at 8:43am

To point something out, many are talking about the past and the founding. The blog really puts out the point that even currently when we have a country that is scary to watch at times. Even so, in the public square, we do not accept Christianity. Even as it's virtually required as a religion of the politicians, you could not run for national public office espousing "Christian Values" and win. Our laws on the national scale run contrary to Christian Values. We don't even have to quote mine. We can simply point out the national rejection of those that hold the Bible too close to their heart. Palin, Huckabee, Perry, Bachman.

Comment by John Kelly on December 19, 2011 at 9:02am

I think it is imperative to deal fairly with this issue. Was the USA a Christian nation? No. It definitely was not. However, it did intend to allow religion to play a social role and even a role in government. It is abundantly clear that it was to be a theist-deist nation.

In the original system, the constitution omitted any reference to religion because it was all over the freaking place. They wanted to balance this out by omitting it entirely. They did not want it eliminated from government, but rather diminished greatly. In order to do that, they needed to ensure no reference to God was made. However, every morning they prayed for God's guidance before they set to work on making sure not to mention him in the constitution they were drafting.

Farrands records are quite clear that congress, even though all but four of them thought prayer unnecessary instituted religious observance through prayer for guidance to be regularly practiced during the drafting of the constitution. The same group carried it over to future congressional sessions. Religious observance was a regular part of the fledgling government, however congress wasn't allowed to pass laws regarding religious preference. The nation was set up as a weird form of tolerant theism.

It is beyond me why the supreme court has misapplied laws concerning what congress could make laws about to all branches of government even at the state level. This is not an honest or accurate reading of the constitution. It makes interpretation a lot easier to make new amendments rather than misapply old ones to try to half-ass the job of taking care of modern issues. New amendments regarding what religious practice is tolerable by government need to be made, rather than misapplying old ones written specifically regarding what laws congress could pass. Right now, the secularization of government is being illegitimately implemented, when with some work some new amendments could make it actually legitimate instead of a stolen gain. It also would clarify a number of hazy issues that derive from this.

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