Analyzing the claim "We are a Christian nation". Part I.

Essay by HeraklesJunior High, 9th grade March 2004

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Amid the furor developing over Michael Newdow and the words "under God" in the pledge, there have been cries by many that this is a "Christian" nation. By "Christian" they do not mean that this nation is composed of a majority of Christians. Or even that our culture is profoundly influenced by Christianity. Instead, the claim "we are a Christian nation" means something more. Mainly, that the Constitution was written to further the goals of Christianity and that, if not today, the government was intended by the founding fathers to support Christianity. But this belief would not only be not applicable in today's diversely religious society, but it simply contradicts history. The Framers of the Constitution, did not want to create a "Christian nation." Rather, their aim was to do exactly the opposite: to create a godless Constitution neutral on the matters of religion in order to ensure that the people retained their freedom of religion and that adherents of minority religions would be protected.

Drafted in 1787, the Constitution was one of the most brilliant documents ever written. On the centennial of its writing, English politician William Gladstone remarked that it was "the most wonderful work ever struck off by the brain and purpose of man." Even today, millions of Americans continue to admire it. Sadly, many would have you believe that this great document was designed to perpetuate Christianity.

But to accept this radical view would be to deny history. God, Jesus, and Christianity are nowhere to be found in the Constitution, and the only mentions of religion are exclusionary. Furthermore, whereas other American documents all contained references to God, the only document that had any governing power, the Constitution, did not. Is it really possible that after laboring for months that the founding fathers simply forgot to...