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On June 28, 2006, then-Senator Barack Obama said the following in his keynote address to a religious conference:
“Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation – at least, not just.”
The word “whatever” makes it seem as if “what we once were” doesn’t even matter. Only it does matter. It matters a lot.
Of course, America never has been exclusively Christian. That’s not what “Christian nation” means.
In 1905, Supreme Court Justice David Josiah Brewer wrote a book, The United States a Christian Nation, that starts out making this very point about America:
“But in what sense can it be called a Christian nation? Not in the sense that Christianity is the established religion or that the people are in any manner compelled to support it.”
That is, just because you live in a Christian nation, it doesn’t mean you have to be a Christian or even pretend to be a Christian. You are free to be — and believe — what you like.
So what does it mean that the United States is a Christian nation?
Born in 1837, David Josiah Brewer was an associate justice of the Supreme Court from 1889 to 1910. He is known for the opinion he wrote in Holy Trinity v. United States, in which a U.S. church asserted that it had not broken a law against importing foreign labor when it hired a British priest and paid his passage to the United States.
Brewer said that the law was obviously not meant to cover priests for several reasons, the biggest being that Americans are “a religious people,” that “this is a Christian nation.
In his book, Justice Brewer describes how the earliest European settlers of North America were inspired by Christianity.
The Mayflower Compact of 1620 describes the Pilgrims as:
“Having undertaken for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith and the honor of our king and country a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia.”
Brewer goes on to list the charters and constitutions of colonies and states including Massachusetts, Virginia, Pennsylvania and many others that contain references to obeying God’s law, granting freedom to worship in accordance with God’s will, and advancing Christian belief.
He says: “It is not exaggeration to say that Christianity in some of its creeds was the principal cause of the settlement of many of the colonies, and cooperated with business hopes and purposes in the settlement of the others.”
“In short, there is no charter or constitution that is either infidel, agnostic or anti-Christian. Wherever there is a declaration in favor of any religion it is of the Christian.”
Having made it clear that the United States was founded by Christians who set down their beliefs in law, Brewer goes on to describe some of the greatest benefits that Christianity has brought to our nation:
“It has stood for liberty and the rights of man,” with preachers playing a powerful role in public life.
United States: A Christian Nation includes a foreword by Christian Action Network president, Martin Mawyer.
This item is being offered as a free gift for the above donation amount to Christian Action Network. Christian Action Network is an IRS 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization. All donations go directly to supporting CAN’s efforts to defend America’s traditional family and religious values.
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