This past week was our Vacation Bible School week. Even though we’re all always pretty tired by the end of it from all the extra hours, it’s always a great week. We had over 150 kids attend and 19 of them had their lives forever changed as they began a lifetime of following Christ. In many ways, VBS week is an exciting and important time for us as a church.
I do, however, have one problem with VBS. It’s nothing against our church as we’re just following the curriculum. Instead, it’s a problem with the way LifeWay constructs the VBS material. It may seem pretty insignificant at first, but I don’t think it actually is. The problem is that the worship services incorporate pledges to the United States flag, Christian flag, and Bible.
I have nothing against any of these pledges on their own. In fact, I don’t even have a problem with two out of the three of them being used in Vacation Bible School. It’s the first one that bothers me. Why must we pledge allegiance to the United States flag during a church program?
I see two major problems with this idea. First, it intertwines faith and nationalism – the proverbial blend of “God and country.” This is a problematic approach, though, because blending the two could lead one to believe that they must coexist in order to exist. In other words, having these children pledge allegiance to the American flag along with the Christian flag and the Bible could lead them to believe that they must be Americans in order to be Christians. One of the many beautiful moments of VBS this week for me was seeing two children led to Christ in Spanish. It’s amazing when I am reminded of how big God is – even bigger than my language! God is also bigger than our nation. One does not have to be American to be Christian, and I would not want to lead anyone to believe this is the case. Even though our church is located in the United States, I don’t want these children (or anyone else) to believe that only in this country may they be Christians.
The second problem is that pledging allegiance to the American flag, Christian flag, and Bible seems to assume equal priority (and even worship) given to each of the entities acknowledged. In other words, when we pledge allegiance to our country, our faith, and our Bible, it makes the three seem as equals. Even though I am 100% American just as I am 100% Christian, the two should not be seen as equal, especially in the context of church. In the context of a worship service (after all, LifeWay does call it the “worship rally”), it is even worse; it presents the idea that we worship our country just as we worship our God. This is blatant idolatry. While it is possible that this is not the intended result of saying the pledge to the American flag, it could easily be seen that way by the children in attendance. Why risk leading children down the path of idolatry in what is supposed to be a time of worship and drawing children to Christ?
Sadly, Vacation Bible School is not the only place in some churches where this problem is present. As Independence Day approaches, I cringe to think about how some churches celebrate. I wish more ministers and churchgoers alike thought about the dangers involved in a “God and country” service (I’ve seen plenty bearing that very name!). The same issues with using the pledges in VBS apply to “patriotic services” at church. I understand that much of this is done to honor veterans who are also church members, but when we take the focus off of God and place it on people or a nation we are no longer worshiping God. Especially in the context of a worship service, when we place too much emphasis on patriotic elements, we end up worshiping our country or our veterans.
Don’t get me wrong; I love my country deeply. I’m thankful for those who have given so much to defend and protect our country and the freedoms for which it stands. I’m proud to be an American and there’s not a country in the world in which I’d rather live. However, I also don’t believe church is the proper venue for patriotism, as blending the two takes away from true faith. I can only hope that LifeWay and American ministers will recognize this and adjust their worship accordingly.
Oh Jonathan, where to begin?
I can see where you might see the various pledges at once as a negative impact on young minds, and thoroughly understand the issues of co-mingling ideas of church and state. However, there is another way to look upon the Pledge of Allegiance to the US Flag, and the idea of a “patriotic” worship service.
I would also like to address the “Pledge to the Christian Flag” as well as the “Pledge to the Bible” following that.
First, a little history lesson: The original colonists to what became the United States left England for many reasons, but the most common reason among them was that of religious freedom. That freedom was designed to allow every individual the right and ability to worship how they wanted, without any governmental restraint upon their practices.
The next major crossroad of church and state came when our nation was founded. The Founding Fathers wanted to make sure to protect that right, but also remind the people that this nation was indeed founded under a belief in God. Though they are not responsible for the Pledge of Allegiance to the US Flag. They did deem it appropriate, however, to open all sessions of government with prayer, and Congress has its own devoted chaplain.
The initial version of the Pledge of Allegiance did not include “Under God” in the phrasing, in fact it did not even state “to the flag of the United States of America,” instead simply stating “to my flag.” It wasn’t until 1954 when President Eisenhower had “under God” added to the pledge, reasoning that: “in this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in peace and war.”
So there is the history lesson regarding why we have God included in our national pledge.
So why does the Pledge cause such an issue to religious and non-religious groups? We are a Nation that was founded on the belief in God, and initially believed that God was a guiding force in the lives of the citizens. There was no intention of putting the country or state at the same level as God, but as the words in the pledge state, UNDER God. And that is the issue in and of itself. Those who are irreligious libertines would rather God had nothing to do with our country. Then there are those who express an opinion similar to yours that there is too much blending of God and Country in religious services. It is an argument that has raged for half a decade, and will probably rage many years to come. It is more important to allow each individual the opportunity to examine the bonds of God and Country to their own personal Faith, and learn from there how to better weigh the two. Idolatry only occurs if there is worship of a nation or other being than God. Songs about love of country are not the same as a song of praise in my opinion.
Now as for the “Christian Flag Pledge” and the “Bible Pledge,” I must admit these are both new to me. I have grown up in churches, and attended services from just about every denomination in the United States. I would think it unique to the Baptist church, but I have since done a little research on both. For those like me who have not ever heard or read either, here is the Christian Flag Pledge:
I pledge allegiance to the Christian Flag and to the Savior for whose Kingdom it stands. One Savior, crucified, risen, and coming again with life and liberty to all who believe.
And the Bible Pledge:
I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God’s Holy Word, I will make it a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path and will hide its words in my heart that I might not sin against God.
Now, as someone who has never recited either sets of words, you will have to bear with me, as I do not understand the need for them. The Christian Flag Pledge reminds me more of the Apostles or Nicene Creed, which essentially state a belief in God, Jesus Christ, the Kingdom of Heaven, and the one day return of Jesus to judge those living and dead.
As for the Bible Pledge, I actually take issue with all of it.
“I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God’s Holy Word, I will make it a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path and will hide its words in my heart that I might not sin against God.”
This is an example of a contradictory statement at its finest. You will light a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path, yet you will hide away the words of the Bible in your heart? That makes no sense. Maybe embrace the word in your heart so as to live by it, but not hide it away. How can the Word light your way when it is locked away?
So might it be better to have a statement made, if one is necessary, that is something along the following lines:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty and Jesus Christ, his Son and embodiment on Earth. I believe in the Word of God and that the Word should be accepted and lived by in my own life. I believe that all peoples are under the watch and guidance of God, and trust that His will shall be done, regardless of nation.
Ok, so I have rambled on long enough. Hopefully this has given a new perspective for you to consider Jonathan. As always, I welcome your comments back. 🙂
Thanks for commenting. I have a few thoughts that will hopefully clarify what I meant.
First, as Lindsay said in her comment, I’m not trying to say that any of the pledges are bad. I think it’s good that kids grow up saying the pledge to the American flag in school, and I don’t agree with other religious groups (namely Jehovah’s Witnesses) who refuse to recite it. I think it’s good that kids learn to love and respect their country, and whenever I have kids of my own, I’ll be sure to teach them the same. I just don’t think the church is the proper venue for it, especially in the context of worship. Simply connecting the dots alludes to the idea that we’re worshiping our country. While I don’t think all kids will necessarily think this, it’s a dangerous assumption that easily could be made. Even if the pledge does contain two words referencing religion, it’s a statement of patriotism and nationalism, not one of faith, and for that reason it doesn’t belong in a worship service.
Second, I don’t actually have any problem with the pledge to the Bible. As Lindsay pointed out, it’s just a collection of verses talking about the usefulness of God’s Word: Psalm 119:105 and Psalm 119:11. I don’t think the two images conflict. Think of the Bible like a road map. I can use a map to get directions to where I’m going (v. 105) but I also want to internalize and memorize the directions so I can more easily find my way. I think that’s the illustration these verses are trying to make, and since we often teach children that the Bible is like a road map for our lives, I think it’s a fitting image. The pledges to the Christian flag and Bible are serving a similar purpose as the Nicene Creed does for your church, and those words are fitting as well. It’s just saying either alongside the pledge to the American flag that troubles me.
Didn’t intend to infer you did not like the Pledge, I was simply trying to show the tie between the Pledge of Allegiance and God. As I said in my response to Lindsay, my personal feeling is that saying the Pledge of Allegiance before a worship service or before a day at school has nothing to do with the worship itself nor the lessons of the day.
As Lindsay informed me of the correlation and the interpretation, I can agree with the sentiment of the Pledge to the Bible. Though as I stated, I do still find it odd that in 27 years, this is the first I’ve ever heard of it, same for the Pledge to the Christian Flag (which I didn’t even know there WAS a Christian Flag).
Just goes to show that nobody has all the answers to anything, and there are always others out there who can shine the light of knowledge into the darkness of ignorance.
Jonathan, I read your blog and I thought the comments were interesting regarding the pledge and church. I also would say the idea I fear is the belief that you have to be american to be christian by some believers scares me. It is that exceptionalism theme many politicians sell and repackage. Also many of your ideas were covered by Roger Williams in his many discussions on the Chuch and State relationship in Rhode Island. Keep preaching
DC, thanks for your thoughts on this. I don’t think Jonathan was saying the pledge to the American flag is bad though. It’s just that there is a time and a place for it. I think a church should definitely support the country it is in (in fact, the Bible of course teaches us to serve others). But it’s not appropriate (in my opinion) to give the same amount of emphasis to America as we do the Lord. This detracts from the central focus of a worship service, which should be the Lord.
Also the pledge to the Bible is based on Psalm 119:105 and 11. The metaphor of hiding God’s word in one’s heart does not mean hiding it from others. On the contrary, it means letting His word become so much a part of you that it guides all of your thoughts and actions (lighting your way) and also overflows out of you so as to shine as a light for others to see.
I remember saying all those pledges at VBS growing up. Thankfully I don’t think it ever made me think I needed to worship America. Hopefully most kids won’t feel that way either. But the potential for misunderstanding remains.
Don’t get me wrong Lindsay, I had no intent on trying to say Jonathan didn’t like the Pledge of Allegiance or think it was bad. And I don’t disagree that there is a time and place for everything. And of course, a worship service should always be directed towards the Lord, and no other entity.
I guess I just am of the belief that the Pledge of Allegiance said before a worship service starts, just as I believe that it being said before school starts, does not mean it is included in the service or the days lessons. I separate them in my own mind.
I am glad you were able to clear up what I took as literal in regards to the “Bible Pledge.” I can understand that idea and in fact agree with it, as my comment above may have eluded to.
I do still find it odd though, that after 27 years and visiting many different churches and denominations, that this is the first I’ve ever heard of the Pledge to the Christian flag (or that there WAS a Christian flag) and the Pledge to the Bible.
Psalm 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.
But do you think that’s true for our country? I don’t.
No I don’t. That wasn’t my point, even though it once was true of America. Some desire it to be true and pray to that end, myself included. My only point is that there is Biblical evidence in support of allowing oneself to flirt with the romantic notion of “God and country.” Israel is the prime example. Your argument is based upon assumption as is the opposing view. It’s a difference of opinion.
I don’t think it was ever true of our country. Our founding fathers were mostly Deists, not Christians, and I think you’d find many of their beliefs troubling. Thomas Jefferson, for example, removed much of the Bible that he didn’t like, including all of Jesus’ miracles (read more here). The only time we were even close to being a “Christian nation” was in the 1600s when Europeans first settled here. Even in those early days, there was a great deal of controversy and disagreement regarding religion. But even if that were not the case, even if the United States truly was a “Christian nation,” we know from the teachings of Jesus that our faith is not just for one group of people. Even in the Old Testament, there are plenty of places where we discover that God’s love reaches beyond just Israel. In the New Testament, it is even more clear. Especially because our nation is founded on the separation of church and state, it is very important that we keep that separation distinct. I don’t understand why LifeWay tries to combine the two because Baptists historically have been rooted in this doctrine. I wouldn’t say it’s a difference of opinion – it’s a difference between right teaching and folk religion at best.
That is wrong. A large percentage of our founding fathers had seminary degrees. Why is it that people who love to discredit the Christian founding of our nation only look to quote the few who were not Christians? Just read the documents. Some were Deists for sure, but the biggest percentage were Christian. Christian Theism played a great role in the founding of this country.
I am not saying that the Gospel is for one group of people. Any Bible student would deny that. But you’re using assumptions to create a straw man to attack. You simply don’t want the pledge of allegiance included in a Church service correct? That is your opinion. Other Christians, who want to remember days gone by and pray for our nation’s return to God disagree and want the pledge included in their Church services. So it’s a difference of opinion.
There are Scriptures that underpin the desire for America to be a Christian nation, and the Pledge of Allegiance doesn’t negate God or lead one to idolatry. In fact if you just let the words sink in it gives God pre-eminence over our nation (“one nation under God”).
The seperation of Church and State was primarily intended to prevent “religious freedom” from being taken away. The same religous freedom that should protect your view should also protect the opinion of those who disagree with you.
The problem is when people give devotion to God and country equally. This is, at the very least, what “patriotic church services” promote, if not downright idolatry. The Bible is very clear on this.
Isaiah 31:1 – Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the LORD.
Hosea 10:13-14 – But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors, the roar of battle will rise against your people, so that all your fortresses will be devastated— as Shalman devastated Beth Arbel on the day of battle, when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children.
Relying on our own strength or the strength of our nation leads to woe and destruction. This was true for Israel as much as it is true for the United States today.
Also, keep in mind that the words “Under God” weren’t even originally a part of the Pledge of Allegiance – they were only added in the last 70 years.
Regarding the separation of church and state: note the wording of the first amendment to our Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” It consists of two parts relating to religion: one (as you have stated) regarding religious freedom, but a second banning laws “respecting an establishment of religion.” This means that our government by nature has no religious preference. Therefore, it does not give God pre-eminence over our nation as you would suggest.
Once again you are assuming that people place country on the same level with God because they partake of and enjoy patriotic services. Some may do that, but just as probable is the likelihood that others don’t. To my knowledge, based upon those whom I know (including myself), most don’t even think in the same terms as you are setting forth. Most simply believe that America was raised up by God and blessed by God. And quite naturally as we see the Bible and God being kicked out of our nation we long for our nation to return to God and patriotic services serve as not only a reminder of what our nation once was, but what it can once again be under God.
As to your using the phrase “under God” being added later as proof that America was never a “Christian nation”: You are pulling a classic liberal stunt, and that is using a trumped up piece of so called evidence to negate a mountain worth of evidence.
Let me fill you in on a few details concerning the history of our nation.
1.) The very first session of Congress, which took place on Sept. 6th, 1774, was started with a 3 HOUR LONG prayer session followed by an in depth study of Psalm 35 which many of our founding fathers claimed for the birth of our nation.
Afterwards John Adams called upon the nation to take part in a day of prayer and fasting. Do you know how may of these “Days of Prayer/Fasting & Thanksgiving” took place during the American Revolution? IT HAPPENED 15 TIMES.
2.) The American revolution ended in 1781 and do you know what happened just 11 months later? THE FIRST ENGLISH BIBLE PRINTED ON AMERICAN SOIL was published. Do you know who paid for its being printed? THE U.S. CONGRESS.
3.) Do you know the name of the first Public School Law? it was called “THE OLD DELUDER SATAN ACT.” It was established to put the Bible into the curriculum in all public schools.
4.) Are you aware of the words that began the very peace treaty that we signed with Britain? This is how it starts: “IN THE NAME OF THE MOST HOLY AND UNDIVIDED TRINITY.”
5.) 29 of the 56 that signed the Constitution had Seminary degrees. Let me list a few of them:
John Witherspoon- an evangelist
Charles Thompson- a theologian who translated the Bible
Dr. Benjamin Rush- the man who started the Sunday School movement
Samuel Adams- who said, “I rely on the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins.”
Roger Sherman- a theologian
John Adams- who once wrote, “There can be no legitimate goverment without the aid of the Holy Ghost.”
Charles Carrol- who helped frame the Bill of Rights. He wrote, “I am grateful to Almighty God for the blessings which, through Jesus Christ our Lord, He has conferred on my beloved country.”
The fact is that only a Christian nation can provide religious freedom. America was founded upon God and the Bible and in doing so the large majority of our founding fathers believed that with our nation being founded upon the God of the Bible, there must also be freedom of religion. If you know the truth concerning who God really is, why would you be intimidated by false religions. Their mindset was that of allowing religious freedom with total confidence that only the truth of Jesus Christ would set men free. Let the Deists promote their religion; let the Unitarians promote their religion; let the Muslims promote their religion. They knew they had the truth and the only society that would allow for them to promote the truth would be a society in which those who held opposing views could promote theirs as well. That was their mindset and the historical records, that secular media doesn’t want us to know about, clearly bears that out.
What those who are opposed to Christianity want us to believe is that the end result of “freedom for all religions” came to be because the founders believed that all religions were equal. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your ignorance of this is evidenced by your second to last sentence. You’ve bought into the secular mindset as it relates to our nation’s founding.
You’ve circumvented the foundation for our nation (which is the Bible) by clinging to the result which sprang from our very founding. Religious freedom for all has never been promoted except within a Christian nation. America set the standard.
The fact that America has strayed far from its founding doesn’t change the historical facts. America was a Christian nation. I am not willing to argue for it being so today as some do, but I will gladly oppose anyone with a mindset like yours, as it relates to the historicity of our nation being Christian.
I think you’re missing the point. I am not pulling “stunts,” whether liberal, conservative, or anywhere in between. There is one simple point that is irrefutable, regardless of how many hours people in the 1700s spent praying or how many of the Founding Fathers had seminary degrees. It is this:
The United States is not, never has been, and cannot be (without a complete legislative upheaval) a Christian nation.
The statement that “only a Christian nation can offer religious freedom” is self-defeating. The truth is that only a nation without an official religious preference can offer religious freedom. What makes Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and other nations “Muslim nations?” The fact that they have a national religion. The only way to have a “Christian nation” is to establish Christianity as the official national religion. This is completely incompatible with the free exercise clause of the first amendment. A nation with an official religion cannot offer religious freedom. To the contrary, a nation that offers religious freedom cannot establish a national religion and therefore cannot be a [insert any religion here] nation. It cannot be a Christian nation, a Muslim nation, or anything else. The simple truth is that our nation is (from a governmental standpoint) agnostic. This would continue to be true even if every single American was Christian, so long as the free exercise clause of the first amendment is still intact. Being a Christian nation has nothing to do with how many people in the nation are Christian; it has everything to do with the established laws in the nation.
I’m glad that our Founding Fathers prayed and conducted Bible studies. I’m glad our national leaders valued prayer, fasting, and other Christian disciplines. These facts are irrelevant in regard to the religious status of our country, however, because the document they produced to govern our nation (the Constitution) is by nature an agnostic document. And just in case there was any question as to whether this was the case, the Bill of Rights, passed a few short years later, removed all doubt.
As long as our Constitution allows Americans to practice any religion, we by rule cannot be a Christian nation. And this is fine with me.
Why? Because the Pilgrims were actually escaping from a Christian nation. England was much closer to being a Christian nation than the United States ever has been. Even though no one was forced to practice it, the Church of England was the national religion of England. This caused a great deal of problems for anyone who wished to practice their religion differently, and this was a primary reason that the Pilgrims left England. From the earliest days, there were disagreements among American settlers as to how Christianity should be practiced. This is evidenced in the writings of Roger Williams especially. Because of this, from the earliest days onward, American settlers valued religious freedom because they saw the tyranny that could happen otherwise.
Though our situation is much different today, the rationale for not being a Christian nation is still highly valued today. Especially in postmodern culture, people don’t respond to “the machine” very well. If America were truly a Christian nation, this is how religion would be viewed. This is also the very reason that Christianity is currently struggling so much in Europe, because it is viewed in this manner. I personally believe, and statistics back up my opinion, that we’re better off not being a Christian nation. The nations where Christianity is currently thriving – take South Korea and Australia as examples – are places that would never consider themselves to be “Christian” nations.
Regardless, religious worship services are by nature idolatrous. Even if you don’t believe that revering our nation in a time of worship leads people to worship our nation, the very fact that nationalism is being promoted in a time of worship could lead others to believe this. It is a worship service; it is only natural for people to make a connection between what is being revered in the service and the act of worship. If someone who had never been to church before came in and heard the words “we have come to worship,” worship of God, and talk about nationalism, it only makes sense for the dots to be connected. I would honestly be surprised if someone without church experience could participate and not believe he was being invited to worship our country. It’s also important to consider the feelings of those attending who may not be American-born or American citizens. Does that mean that God is not offering His love to them? Of course not, but promoting nationalism could lead to this mindset. In our church, we have people who were born in India, Mexico, and eastern Europe. Several of them are not American citizens. The last thing I would ever want to do is present God in a way that could be seen to exclude them. God loves people in all nations equally. After all, John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world,” not “For God so loved Israel” or “For God so loved the United States.” It is very clear in this passage and others that God’s love is for everyone, regardless of nationality. The Bible clearly states (in the Old and New Testaments alike) that this is the case.
Clearly, thinking of the United States as a Christian nation has dire consequences. The very suggestion of this notion has led to anti-American sentiment overseas; after the Taliban attacked the United States ten years ago, they declared Jihad (holy war – war between religions) on the United States. Our government has been clear to suggest that the “war on terror” is not one between Christianity and Islam, but between our nation and those who attack it. Even so, it is clear that we have a long way to go in restoring our nation to where it needs to be – a nation full of Christians but not a Christian nation.
I am not surprised by your response. You skimmed over the facts I presented and repackaged some of them with a slant toward your view simply because they don’t line up with your view; and the rest you completely ignored. Once again that is typical of those who embrace liberal views, whether in politics, philosophy, or theology.
Clearly you have a different definition of “Christian Nation” than I do. By your definition if 100% of the people in our nation were Christians they would still be the parts that make up the whole of an agnostic nation because of a few sentences in the Constitution that were meant simply to promote religious freedom and prevent tyranny in the name of religion. That is foolishness.
My definition of a Christian nation is “a nation where Christianity has a dramatic impact upon the culture, institutions, and society of that nation.” Christianity within America clearly did just that. Even people from other nations came here and proclaimed this truth. Does the name Alexis de Tocqueville ring a bell? In his book “Democracy in America” he said- “The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.”
In short your appeal as to “whether or not a nation is Christian” is to legislation, or to man. My appeal and only regard is directed toward God (Psalm 33:12) first, and the facts contained within our history. I’ve clearly given you reasons as to why religious freedom was contained within our Constitution and your response is to circumvent what I said by trying to classify my statements as “self defeating” simply based solely upon your subjectivity.
Your views are puzzling as it relates to all this, not because I can’t understand what you are saying, nor because I don’t want to, nor because I simply want to argue. For I understand what you are saying and am not in the habit of wasting my time arguing, especially with people whom I believe have their minds made up and will not be swayed by the facts.
Your view is puzzling to me because at the root there appears to be a false dichotomy between your “Christian profession” (which ought to affect every thought, word, and deed), and some of the views you hold. Your view of America as being agnostic is only able to be defended based upon your definition of what is a “Christian nation.” However, your view that you prefer such status reveals a deeper spiritual issue that is contained within my argument, but is absent from yours because of your dichotomy.
Contained within my argument is the Biblical view that we were created by God to be indwelt by God, and fallen man separated from God must fill that vacuum with something else. That is why America is in the state it is in, because in large measure it has turned away from the God who brought her into existence. In essence I am agreeing with the old saying that “nature abhors a vacuum.” This is just as true spiritually as it is physically.
Contained within your argument is the un-Biblical view that an agnostic government is man’s best religious state (because even a non-religious state is a religious state) from within which Christianity can be promoted. In essence you are saying that even though man is fallen and has turned away from God, he still has the wherewithal, even without God, to foster an environment in which Christianity (which is at odds with his very fallen nature) can flourish protected by “freedom of religion” rather than the God who gave man a will, and who alone can aid man in making the right choices. How this differs from my view is that I am arguing that “freedom of religion” can only truly be such within any nation when the majority of those in power are indeed Christians, and as such have no desire to reign with tyranny over those who dwell within. They can ONLY desire such a state because of the aid of God the Holy Spirit. In fact I believe that God Almighty caused our founders to promote freedom of religion, and now that a large percentage of those within our government are not Christians that very freedom of religion is slowly being taken away.
I am at odds with your view. In fact I am convinced by history (Biblical and otherwise) that just the opposite (the opposite being tyranny of all sorts, religious and otherwise, when the majority in power are in fact agnostic, or atheistic, and not Christian) has happened and will happen again. It is even now beginning to happen within America.
I am not willing to continue debating you about whether or not America once was a Christian nation. Your definition differs from mine and therefore no matter what facts I give you, and I’ve given you many, you are going to disagree.
Nor am I willing to continue the discussion about whether or not patriotic services promote idolatry; the reason being that both sides of this matter are merely opinion based upon assumptions. I would argue that the assumptions contained within my view are based upon historical facts plus the hope that we can regain ground lost. However, with that being said I am willing to acknowledge the element of assumption and leave it there.
But I exhort you as a professing Christian to think seriously through this dichotomy that I have exposed. In the final analysis you are trusting in man to protect your religious freedom and the right to promote Christianity by extolling a “non-Christian America.” And upon closer analysis I am willing to state that your views concerning all of this are skewed by your desire to take the offense out of Christianity. This, I believe, is essentially why you’ve embraced such a secular view concerning the founding of America. I arrive at this view because of the sum total of all your views espoused here on your blog.
In the final analysis I trust God alone and not man. I don’t even trust myself to have pure motives and that is why I get on my knees everyday and give myself over to God. I believe that religious freedom is a good environment for Christianity to be promoted within, but I am not foolish enough to believe that religious freedom will remain when those in power don’t know the only true God who has revealed Himself in the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Finally, I will state that unfortunately, I write all this convinced that, like many others, you will never come to grips with what I am saying until your “religious freedom” is taken away. Maybe then you, and many others, will realize the folly of giving so much ground as secularism marched forward within America, as well as the fact that only the living Christ within men’s hearts can give them pure desires, one of which is the suppression of religious tyranny. Only then it may cost your life and if and when it does you will be forced to embrace the labels of “alarmist”, or “radical”, or “extremist”, which labels I now gladly embrace simply because I refuse to take the offense out of the Christian Gospel and give one inch to those who oppose the God who is so Holy that he had to die a bloody death on a Cross in order to procure our redemption.
With Truth & Love in Christ,