Summary: There is a growing debate among the Christian community, is America a Christian nation?
There is a growing debate among the Christian community, is America a Christian nation? As this argument develops we would like to offer a solution to the opposing view that America is no longer a Christian nation. Some may argue that America is not a Christian nation because the Constitution does not refer to or contain any reference to Christ or Christianity. Also to those who suggest that America was never a Christian nation based on the treatment of slaves. Furthermore, the people who desire to hurt Americans with fear and terrorism. This message will argue the supporting evidence that America is still a Christian nation based on the hearts of our founding fathers, our stance on slavery, and our response to terror.
The most obvious reason that America is a Christian nation is the founding fathers view of God and the Christian church. Gouverneur Morris represents the ideas contained in the constitution. It is noted that Morris spoke on the Convention floor 173 times, more than any other delegate. As head of the committee on style, he drafted and was them responsible for most of the wording of the Constitution. Gouverneur Morris had a deep abiding faith in a God who intervenes in world affairs. His faith distinguishes Morris from the deists with their belief in an absentee God. He expressed his faith in God in letters he wrote to George Washington. “I hope in God, my dear Sir that you may long continue to preside.” Morris’s view of Jesus Christ is not easily determined however, in light of his Episcopalian beliefs he had an orthodox view of the Trinity and Jesus Christ. Therefore we may assume that Morris agreed with the doctrine of the church to which he belonged.
An April 17, 1778, letter to his mother shows his faith in God and his willingness to be part of God’s plan:
I look forward serenely to the course of events, confident that the fountain of supreme wisdom and virtue will provide for the happiness of his creatures. Whenever the present storm subsides, I shall rush with eagerness into the bosom of private life, but while it continues, and while my country calls for the exertion of the little share of abilities, which it has pleased God to bestow on me, I hold it my indispensable duty to give myself to her
Late in life Morris declared that “The Almighty will work out his wise ends by means of
human folly,” recognizing that God uses the foolish things of this world for His glory
(1 Cor 1:18-31). He also thanked God for his blessings and concluded, “I descend towards the
grave full of gratitude to the Giver of all good.”
James Madison is called the “Father of the Constitution.” He spent over a half century in
public service. Madison’s realization that government needs power to control the sinful urges
and actions of men were based on the biblical views of nature and man. He knew that rulers possess sinful natures and could not be trusted with too much power. Madison’s political philosophy is best summarized in his statement before the Constitutional Convention that “All men having power ought to be distrusted.”
The “Memorial and Remonstrance,” far from being an anti-Christian statement, was possibly the closest Madison came to publicly affirming Christianity. His point was that Christianity does not need the support of the state because it is not only a religion of “innate excellence” but also a religion that enjoys the patronage of religion and pre-exists human government and is not dependent on human government. A bill to provide tax “ for the support of the Christian religion, or of some Christian church, denomination, or communion of Christians, or of some form of Christian worship” which became law, would give the State of Virginia the difficult and improper tasks of determining what was and was not Christianity. It would need to determine which churches to support or not support.
Alexander Hamilton life reveals a superb lawyer, a patriot who loved his country and loved liberty, and a man with strong Christian convictions. Two things are certain. First, he never renounced the theology he held as a youth. Second, the political principles which were based on his Calvinistic theology-God given natural law and natural rights posed by the sinful nature of man and the need for strong government power coupled with firm law and procedures to restrain the sinful nature of man-formed the basis of his entire political career. His Christian conscience led him to oppose slavery, possible because of the condition of the slaves he saw in the West Indies.
Early in life Hamilton declared that it is our “Christian duty” not to submit to slavery. In fact Hamilton became more outspoken about his Christianity faith. One factor which revived his faith was the French Revolution. France he declared, “The most flagitious, despotic, and vindictive government that ever disgraced the annals of mankind.” Hamilton was concerned that the atheism and lawlessness of France might spread to the United States. He became convinced that the Christian religion provides a much-needed moral and restraint on the people, inducing them to civic virtue. Throughout our history, most of our founding fathers define themselves primarily by their religious beliefs which ultimately shaped the American story.