On air: Is America a Christian nation?

Updates on our Photostream throughout the show in Florida.


We’ve been talking through the two debates below, and looking around on the net, and it seems this question cuts to the heart of a fierce debate that’s been reignited by Tuesday’s inauguration. The first issue is whether America is a Christian nation, and what follows is whether it should be?

If you look at the inauguration this week, plenty of observers thought there was a subtle (and maybe not so subtle) move away from religion being at the centre of politics. “God Knows His Place” wrote George Pitcher in the Telegraph in the UK.

Then there was the “Second Oath” – it wasn’t done on a Bible. As the BBC’s U.S correspondent Justin Webb commented, you can bet your life that wouldn’t have happened with the previous president.

This article talks about the new watchword in an Obama presidency : inclusiveness.  As the man himself said on Tuesday :

“”We know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and nonbelievers”

There are some who argue that this coalition may be a strength for the U.S  abroad and the country not being seen as a Christian country only. All kinds of faith groups are being consulted to shape -among other things- foreign policy.

So it’s not like religion isn’t important in moulding the future of 21st century America – just not one religion only.

There are those who are worried by the notion that America is not a Christian nation :

“In broad sense Buddhism and Confucianism made China what it is. Shintoism made Japan what it is. Hinduism made India what it is. Islam made the middle east and North Africa what it is. Communism made 30 nations what they became. Reformation Christianity made America what it is”

We’ll be at the HQ of WGCU in Fort Myers Florida later to test this one out. I know you won’t be slow to join in.

178 Responses to “On air: Is America a Christian nation?”

  1. 1 Steve
    January 23, 2009 at 14:17

    The vast majority of people are christians, so I would say it’s a nation that is vastly christian. What do you mean “should it be?” Do you propose having missionaries of other religions come in to try to convert the people?

  2. January 23, 2009 at 14:22

    America is a land of free people, who value their diverse cultures including their religion, but do not want to want to be known just for that. Being sterotyped based just on your afterlife beliefs is not a free nation. Its a nation almost free.

  3. January 23, 2009 at 14:29

    Isn’t the problem that, in American terms, “christian” is usually shorthand for “right wing fundamentalist christian”? That particular group wields far too much power politically….rather than a simple force for good, they a powerful and self-serving political force preaching a a reactionary doctrine of intolerance.

    In these terms, yes America is a christian country and no the shouldn’t be.

  4. 4 Peter Gizzi UK
    January 23, 2009 at 14:38

    I am trying to post a comment and due to problems with my keyboard the last one was incomplete, please delete it..

    I totally agree that in numbers of population The USA can be regarded as Chhristian.

    I ask the question though “who controls the money and what relion are they”?

  5. 5 Maccus Germanis
    January 23, 2009 at 14:49

    When it was written that “Congress shall make no law concerning the establishment of religion,” there did already exist official religions within state constitutions. So, it was partly pragmatism, but also an outgrowth of dissenter influence that led to the “separation of Church and State.” It is a natural outgrowth of the Judeo-Christian principles that formed this nation to resist officiating between people and their conscience. Elsewhere in the world, where other ideologies (ideologies that we are encouraged to believe are equally enlightened) rule, this level of liberty did not indepently occur.

    Because America is a Christian nation, it is so, more by custom than official proclaimation.

  6. 6 Ramesh
    January 23, 2009 at 14:54

    No matter what the constitution of the country says, I consider America is a christian country, that too, more than any country in the western europe.

  7. January 23, 2009 at 15:07

    I think there are many religions here and I think Christianity is the most vocal. I think the other religions and the people who practice them find it easier to just not speak of them and avoid the conflicts that rise from them. No one should be ashamed of how they feel, but if it affected their abilities to keep jobs or support their families, they would remain in the shadows.

  8. January 23, 2009 at 15:15

    sure its ways are all christian influenced as shown by the bible touching by obama during oath ceremony and bush jrs.slip of the tongue of clash of civilizations at the start of iraq war?

  9. 9 Steve in Boston
    January 23, 2009 at 15:17

    Now you’re REALLY looking for trouble. This is an issue that makes even the sweetest people go ballistic.

    My conclusion after watching debates on this issue on many forums is that America is actually not “a nation.” It’s two nations, one comprised of the Northeast Corridor (Boston to Washington), and the other the West Coast. Everything in between, i.e. largely the South and Midwest, is without a doubt what you might call a Christian nation, and includes the Bible Belt. The rest is mostly a secular nation with people of many religions who practice them to varying degrees but who don’t let religion rule their lives.

    As to whether America should be Christian, speaking as a non-Christian, I’ll take a Christian America over what is happening in Europe right now.

  10. January 23, 2009 at 15:24

    lol, I love this question.

    First am I the only one who is amazed “Barack Hussein Obama” has not imposed Sheria Law yet? I mean that was the big fear right?

    The US is a “tongue in cheek” Christian nation. The pay lip service and go to church on Sunday and/ or Holidays. But by “Christian” if you mean their people and policies reflect a policy of tolerance, forgiveness, doing onto others as, self sacrifice, and that many other attributes preached by “Christ” and his dad, well then you are not talking about America. America is an agnostic, selfish, profit driven, entity that sees religion as a “marketable attribute.”

  11. January 23, 2009 at 15:28

    Can somebody at least start today’s conversation by defining what it means to be “Christian”. IS it Just going to church, knowing 6 out of the 10 commandments, and stating it on tax and official forms? Or are there certain traits that we should look at a person and say, “they are a Christian.”

  12. January 23, 2009 at 15:36

    Hello Everyone,

    America is not a Christian Nation! If tomorrow, people of other religion decide to stop working, the country will collapse. They depend heavily on people from other religions. Most doctors are Hindus or Muslims. Most entrepreneurs are Jewish and most people in top level office come from other religions.

    So America is not at all a Christian country!

    Thank you,

  13. 13 Anthony
    January 23, 2009 at 15:53

    Are we a Christian nation? Yes. Should we be? I think so, at least for now. Imagine if you gave these Americans PROOF that there was no God, and all of a sudden they had no reason to “be good”, there would be anarchy, death, and the fall of our nation. That idea has to slowly make it’s way into America.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    -P.S. for the record, I’ve dropped my Christian belief’s, but still very much believe in God, and think that believing in the Theory of Evolution is just as dogmatic as Christianity.

  14. January 23, 2009 at 15:54

    James here from Kenya

    America is a Christian nation, I really don’t think in America anyone can be elected to president without giving quips that suggest he prays or he is a spiritual Christian person. To win presidency in US you have to say some Christian things. Its so Christian that even MITT ROMNEY Mormon religion was causing discomfiture among many Americans.

  15. 15 Maccus Germanis
    January 23, 2009 at 15:59

    Other presidents have passed on swearing an oath on the Bible, with at least one (Pierce) opting not to swear an oath at all.

    James 5:12 (King James Version)
    But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

  16. 16 Gorkhali from Nepal
    January 23, 2009 at 16:03

    Question: Was Barack Obama’s dad a Muslim?

  17. January 23, 2009 at 16:03

    According to the American Heritage Dictonary, Christianity is “one who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or follows the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus; one who lives according to the teachings of Jesus.”

    Now taking that definition and examining America, can you say we can only conduct business under those rules? We can’t.

  18. January 23, 2009 at 16:27

    Thomas Jefferson was a pantheist who once said “God forbid we go twenty years without a revolution.” Whatever religion we are, we made the big break with state religion a couple hundred years ago. By spilling English blood. The hope was that no more blood would be shed over such controls of the person by the group.

    My ancestors came to escape religious persecution in the 1630’s. Their descendant Emily Geiger is memorialized in marble riding her horse to this day on the wall of the South Carolina State House. She was a twenty year old revolutionary war hero who broke through British lines, survived detainment and a strip search to deliver battle plans that dealt one of the fatal blows to British. This is how passionate my family is about freedom of religion to this day.

    Cheers to the Bible-free swaring in.

  19. January 23, 2009 at 16:28

    There are many aspects in the USA that doesn’t make it totally Christian when it comes to -among other things- sexual freedom and other modes of life. Christianity is about thrift but the US is one of the most materialistic countries on Earth.

    For President Obama, to be open to all believers and non-believers, this will surely enhance and preserve personal freedom at home and will have a positive effect on the image of the USA abroad; especially, in Muslim countries where many see the US war on terror as a war on Islam or rather a new form of crusade.

  20. January 23, 2009 at 16:45

    I’ve always viewed America as a country dominated by the Christian belief of its people rather than a Christian country (playing with semantics I know).

    In the former, the democratic system means that the general direction of the country follows a Christian slant, but does not oppose non Christians. The latter however would actively oppress any non Christians.

    Has Bob has stated though, you get the impression that the fundamentalist Christians have lobbying powers as great as any of the powerful industries (cars, oil, defense etc). Therefore they perhaps have a greater influence over politicians than a simple share of the vote would grant them.

  21. 21 Lei
    January 23, 2009 at 16:56

    I don’t think there’s such a thing as a “Christian nation” – unless every individual in that nation is a Christian 🙂 People can’t identify themselves as “Christian” just because most of their neighbours go to church!

  22. 22 Maccus Germanis
    January 23, 2009 at 16:56

    Jefferson was a Diest. And South Carolina did afford freedom from religious persecution, even though founded with an official religion.

    …The Christian Protestant religion shall be deemed, and is hereby constituted and declared to be, the established religion of this State…
    South Carolina Constitution of 1778, ART. 38

    The separation between Church and State does, and should, exist, but is often overstated in regards to the US Constitution and its relation to State constitutions.

  23. January 23, 2009 at 17:23

    Hi gang ! :-)… Well, my best girlfriend at college is a devout Christian, and judging by the life-style she and her family are leading, I can say that the vast majority of Americans, even those who describe themselves as Christians, are so far away from being practicing Christians… I stand corrected for that by the way… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  24. 24 gary
    January 23, 2009 at 17:25

    Yes, The US is a Christian nation. Trouble is, there is substantial disagreement upon the exact meaning of this term, both here and elsewhere. For examples, I am fairly sure both Timothy McVeigh and Mother Teresa considered themselves to be Christian.

  25. 25 Ramesh
    January 23, 2009 at 17:29

    Dwight made an excellent comment! Americans love to be seen as religious and family minded etc. But, practically whatever they do is for profit only. Look at Hillary Clinton. She didn’t leave Bill only because of her political ambitions. Not because she is really a family-minded! Preachings are good for Sundays, not for Monday to Friday!!

  26. 26 Stephen in Florida
    January 23, 2009 at 17:36

    I believe that the majority Americans hold to a form of religion that, while calling itself “Christianity”, is essentially secular in nature.

    The American national identity comes, in large part, from our Calvinist roots. It is this “Protestant Work Ethic” that has propelled us and given us a sort of missionary zeal that is deeply a part of who we are. Americans seem to be driven to prosper and our mere success is proof of God’s favor.

    The Evangelical Right is merely the latest manifestation of this idea. There is a great deal of talk about God and redemption, but the actions thereof bear little resemblance to those of the humble carpenter from Galilee.

  27. January 23, 2009 at 17:36

    There are many aspects in the USA that doesn’t make it totally Christian when it comes to -among other things- sexual freedom and other modes of life. Christianity is about thrift but the US is one of the most materialistic countries on Earth.

    For President Obama, to be open to all believers and non-believers, this will surely enhance and preserve personal freedom at home and will have a positive effect on the image of the USA abroad.

  28. 28 Tom D Ford
    January 23, 2009 at 17:41

    “On air: Is America a Christian nation?”

    No, not in any sense that Jesus would have recognized as Christian.

    In fact, thinking it over, you’d have to admit that America is pretty much the opposite of Christian.

  29. 29 Jessie in Portland, OR
    January 23, 2009 at 18:08

    As a firm believer in the separation of church and state, I was so awed and pleased that President Obama recognized non-Christian (religious and not) Americans in his inauguration address. While our country might have been a Christian nation in the past, times have changed and I don’t believe that religion should have any more place in politics.

  30. 30 Melissa
    January 23, 2009 at 18:09

    This is a country of many faiths not just Christians. Our founding fathers wanted all religions to be able to practice freely without persecution. Religion and politics should be kept separate! There are too many conflicting religions in this country for our leader to be biased due to his personal faiths, he needs to represent all faiths and all people’s interests.

  31. 31 Lee
    January 23, 2009 at 18:10

    As President Obama said – time to put away childish things. Stop this nonsense. We are all human beings. Lets treat everyone equally and stop this childish conversation – grow up everyone.

  32. January 23, 2009 at 18:10

    Obama was sworn in on the same bible that Lincoln used. Why are you saying he didn’t use one? Great topic, but let’s stick to the facts.

  33. 33 anthony
    January 23, 2009 at 18:11

    As a native american I feel compelled to say that I personally am tired of religion injecting itself into the political arena. Why should my life be affected by someone elses beliefs in a non existant being in their head

  34. 34 rachel
    January 23, 2009 at 18:12

    Our country began as a secular institution. Religion of any kind should not be a prominent factor in our decision making in this country. This country was NOT founded on Christianity.

  35. January 23, 2009 at 18:12

    This is not a religious country, spiritual maybe religious no. The country was founded by intellectuals not religious zealots. It’s about time we have another intellectual in the white house.

  36. 36 Steve
    January 23, 2009 at 18:12

    To the Canadian guest in the audience that spoke, I would like to remind her of the lyrics to her national Anthem, how much separation of church and state do you have when your national anthem mentions God?:

    O Canada!
    Our home and native land!
    True patriot love in all thy sons command.
    With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
    The True North strong and free!
    From far and wide, O Canada,
    We stand on guard for thee.

    God keep our land glorious and free!
    O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
    O Canada, we stand on guard for thee

  37. 37 Michelle from Jamaica
    January 23, 2009 at 18:12

    Christianity is a lifestyle, not just a belief. There are many believing christians in America, but how many practicing christians? Cristianity suggest a posture of humility, self-sacrifice , love and tolerance. I don’t see this reflected in the lifestyle of the average American.

  38. 38 Nathan J Smith from Denver
    January 23, 2009 at 18:14

    America was built on the premises of freedom of religion. I believe that President Obama shouldn’t let his religious beliefs dictate policies for the rest of Americans. It would be a slap in the face to all the Americans that aren’t Christians.

  39. 39 Melissa
    January 23, 2009 at 18:14

    “men never do evil so completely as when they do it from religious conviction.” Madison

    Let’s leave religion in churches and politics in Washington.

  40. 40 colby
    January 23, 2009 at 18:14

    america is a country where people are free to choose and practice their own religion.. this is not a religous country, rather, a country with many religions. i feel this is one of the things that makes this country so great, is the freedom to choose. as far as what president obama said about being a nation that includes “non-believers”; i am glad he acknowledged that group, and he’s absolutely right. i think obama will do a good job of keeping church and state separate (compared to G.W.Bush), and i didn’t even vote for him. this is not a “christian nation”.

  41. 41 Anthony
    January 23, 2009 at 18:14

    Muslims don’t want to kill, TERROIST EXTREME muslims do, and lets not forget all the killing Christians have done over the years in the name of Christianity.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  42. 42 Lisa Millet
    January 23, 2009 at 18:14

    The Constitution of the US specifies that there is a separation between church and state, and that religion can be practiced in any form – i.e. there is no “state” religion like in England.

    While the majority of those practicing a religion in the US are christian, the idea that the US is a christian nation is not in the constitution, it is not in any code or law. It is an idea.

  43. 43 Fred in Portland OR
    January 23, 2009 at 18:15

    NO America isn’t a Christian Nation. In no way do Christians in this country consistently live up to the teachings of Christ.

    Keep churches separate from the state.

    If Christians want to not have abortions, not take inoculations, stone their adulterous youth, I say let them.

    It’s not like Protestants are better or have higher morals than anybody else, all you have to do is look back to the McCain Rallys this spring full of “Christians” calling for the death of the man who became our president. Please tell me where Jesus said to call or the death of another man based on his politics?

  44. 44 Scott (M)
    January 23, 2009 at 18:15

    Besides the fact that America legally can’t be considered a Christian country, why would it want to be? The entire point of America is freedom. We are free, in large part, because of an alleged separation of Church and State. I suppose America is statistically a white country. Would you propose we label it so?

    Where does one draw the line? Between percentages? Yes there are many Christians in America, but America has the architecture to support all faiths (and no faiths) and that must never, ever change—because then it will no longer be America!

  45. 45 Chris Ramsay
    January 23, 2009 at 18:16

    Ros, let’s be clear. The First Amendment to the Constitution reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The listeners need to remember this above all else when providing their biased opinions to the world via your program.

  46. 46 Bill From Eastlake Ohio
    January 23, 2009 at 18:17

    What morality is there in religion when innocent people are killed in Gods name?

  47. 47 Heather
    January 23, 2009 at 18:18

    What happened to the seperation of church and state?
    I thought our country was based on that idea. Our goverment should be run with logic, reason and wisdom – not religion.

  48. 48 Jeff
    January 23, 2009 at 18:20

    America was founded on the idea of freedom from both political and religious tyranny. The problem with thinking of America as a fundamentally “Christian nation” is that religion of any sort easily rationalizes bigotry and violence.

  49. 49 colby
    January 23, 2009 at 18:21

    america is a country where people are free to choose and practice their own religion.. this is not a religous country, rather, a country with many religions. i feel this is one of the things that makes this country so great, is the freedom to choose. as far as what president obama said about being a nation that includes “non-believers”; i am glad he acknowledged that group, and he’s absolutely right. i think obama will do a good job of keeping church and state separate (compared to G.W.Bush), and i didn’t even vote for him. this is not a “christian nation”.

  50. 50 Pam
    January 23, 2009 at 18:21

    I am afraid that it is. That is evident in the legislation in several states in this country that have, or are attemting to, discount evolution and “educate” school children in the existance of a “creator.”

  51. 51 Monica in Oregon
    January 23, 2009 at 18:22

    Food for thought: So many Americans think the Middle East is backwards and oppressive. They are Muslim! They have theocracies! How can someone hate another country because they have a national religion (Islam) and then say that they want the US to be a Christian nation.

    The USA was founded on a separation of church and state. Keep it that way.

  52. January 23, 2009 at 18:23

    Christanity and the imposing of christian morals with out any evidence to prove their beliefs on the country including those without irrational beliefs is the most despicable form of mental slavery.

  53. January 23, 2009 at 18:23

    I thought this was a free country. I never once heard that this is a Christian country- I was taught that we are free to choose what we want we want for religion and that means no one dominates or holds a monopoly.

    I’m a spiritual atheist, I pray and meditate daily and my life is devoted to service and I don’t care much for Christianity and I’m an American citizen. I don’t want to live in a Cristian nation.

  54. 54 Jim from Florida
    January 23, 2009 at 18:23

    America is a Christian nation the way the Beattles were a Christian rock band.

  55. January 23, 2009 at 18:28

    A government that represents a country that is comprised of different religions should abstain from projecting his own religion for the sake of neutrality and transparency. The President represents a country and not a religion.

    Best regards,

    Stephen from Montreal, Canada

  56. 56 Pete From Broomfield, CO
    January 23, 2009 at 18:28

    Laws are often desinged to defend the minorty from being overrun by the majority. Freedom of religon and seperation of church and state were desiged to protect the few against the many, not to dictate the values of the majortiy to all.
    As an Athiest, I would have like to see Obama use a copy of the Consitution to take the oath.

  57. 57 Pietje from Seattle
    January 23, 2009 at 18:28

    I fundamentally disagree with the gentleman calling in saying that non-religious people have no morals. I am not religious and I live my life following strong ethical values and morals which I teach my children.

  58. 58 Steve in Boston
    January 23, 2009 at 18:29

    Does “freedom of religion” as guaranteed by the founding fathers mean “freedom FROM religion?”

    If so, America can not, by definition, be a Christian nation.

  59. 59 Scott from Scotland
    January 23, 2009 at 18:29

    To the caller who claimed you cannot have morality without God…

    Could he please explain to me how I am able to live a moral life with no belief in a bearded man in the sky?

  60. 60 Anthony
    January 23, 2009 at 18:30

    Well, in my town (Whittier, CA), I know 20 Christian Churches off the top of my head (and there are more than that), but when I looked for a Jewish Temple, I found one, and when I looked for a Mosque, I couldn’t find any, nor could I find any Buddist Temples.

    So, I’d say Whittier, CA is a Christian town.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  61. 61 Scott (M)
    January 23, 2009 at 18:30

    I was offended Mr. Obama used a bible. He is a sell-out. Using a bible in a political setting is a clear endorsement of an alleged validity of a particular religion. It is offensive to any clear thinking individual.

  62. January 23, 2009 at 18:31

    Which is worse, taking the oath without the bible or invading a country in the name of one?

  63. January 23, 2009 at 18:32

    When President Obama mentioned non-believers as equal citizens of the US my heart melted.

  64. 64 Ruth
    January 23, 2009 at 18:32

    I was offended by the overwhelming religious tenor of the inauguration. It is Obama’s choice and I’m alright with that but I’m not religious so I didn’t like it.
    Complaining about what a retail business tells their employees to say in regard to Christmas/holiday/season greetings, you have to realize that this is the same issue – choice. If you don’t like it, don’t shop there.

    The issue we’re talking about is about religion in government and that should absolutely be kept separate.

  65. 65 oscar carballo
    January 23, 2009 at 18:33

    I have not hear anybody mentions statistics facts. How many Christians are there in U.S.? By the way, I think inmigrants and cultural minorities shouldn’t feel uncomfortable with the presence of religious-cultural expressions of majority that do not match with their own.

  66. January 23, 2009 at 18:33

    There’s a disturbing tendency in America among Christians to think that Freedom of Religion means they have the right to do or say whatever they want without being challenged, no matter who it may offend.

    People need to look back to the founding fathers, who were mostly deists, not Christians, very deliberately did not mention God in the bible. And we need to look forward with inclusion, as Obama did in his speech where he also included non-believers as part of America.

    Glenn from Portland, OR

  67. 67 Ogola Benard
    January 23, 2009 at 18:33

    Obama had already take a sworn in oath and so he did not need the bible again!The second phase was a commitment to the first faith.Any body can take oath according to his or her religion because without oath, there is no God, peace and commitment!

  68. 68 Lynette in Washington, DC
    January 23, 2009 at 18:34

    What does “Christian Country” mean anyway? If it means that the majority are Christian, then yes, we are a Christian country. But I am worried that a lot of people are confused at the difference between theocracy and democracy. America never intended to be a theocracy! The actions such as swearing on a Bible or saying “One Nation, Under God” are more recent inventions. It worries me that people truly feel Christian ideals should be law, but then complain about countries who want Shariah Law.

    January 23, 2009 at 18:34

    I think if a person says this is a christian book, it means the content inside is christian same applies 2 a country and i don’t think thats the case with the U.S.A

  70. 70 Ali
    January 23, 2009 at 18:34

    I am muslim with christian wife and kids. My neighbors are christians, jews and hindus. The people who fail to travel overseas always have a very narrow view of the world, its about time that americans travel overseas and open their eyes to the world. When I go and swear in its always a bible, nobody offers other books of faith for swearing in any where. It is so backward.

  71. 71 David Callard
    January 23, 2009 at 18:35

    I’m an atheist. Where does that leave me?

  72. 72 Chanda
    January 23, 2009 at 18:35

    As an American who is an atheist, I would love to see a true separation of church and state by those that are our leaders. The politics of religion should not dictate who I have sex with and whether I can or cannot marry them, whether or not I obtain an abortion and there should be no debate on creationism in school–it does not belong. The list can go on.
    Any sort of extremism is dangerous and a threat to all believers and non-believers.
    Perhaps we should practice good human rights and civil rights as nations and stop the discrimination of one another.

  73. 73 Steve
    January 23, 2009 at 18:35

    Isn’t the “founding father” argument a rather poor one? After all, many of them were slaveowners. If you cared about the opinions on freedom of religion, do you care also about their beliefs on whether slavery is permissible or not? Are we going to pick and choose which aspects of the founding fathers we like?

  74. 74 Michael
    January 23, 2009 at 18:35

    I will relish the day when the ideals of americans are shaped more by common sense and mutual love of humanity instead of often misinterpreted faery tails.

  75. 75 Matt Henderson
    January 23, 2009 at 18:35

    The United States is predominantly a nation of Christians, but that does not make us a “Christian Nation.” The U.S. Constitution is a conspicuously secular document with a firm separation between church and state. It was foreseen that each would thrive more freely if kept untangled from the other.

    Lancaster, Pennsylvania

  76. 76 teobesta
    January 23, 2009 at 18:36

    it seems quite surreal to me to be listening to such a conversation in this day and age
    america wants to lead the world
    with this type of attitude, this really begs the question: where to exactly?
    back to the dark ages?!

  77. 77 debbie in Cleveland
    January 23, 2009 at 18:36

    Listen on WCPN
    Florida, WHYS is one of the best shows on the radio.

    Very interesting conversation…………….President Obama is a Christian and I bet he will let his faith guide his term……….but what if other Christians don’t like his policies – does that mean he is not a Christian??? God alone judges his character and the voting booth will judge the policies.
    Thanks again

  78. 78 francis ackon ghana
    January 23, 2009 at 18:36

    There are series of religions n religious believes in America but however, america should and must practice christianity. Thus so help me GOD must never be eliminated. Everyone should be left to choose his religion. The most important thing is PEACE, UNITY and LOVE.

    Francis. Accra. ghana

  79. 79 Jamie Bloomfield
    January 23, 2009 at 18:36

    Quite a few participants have declared that the US Christian nation. As an outsider, my understanding is that the US is not a Christian nation, it is a secular State of which the predominant religion is Christianity. The Founding Fathers got it right.

  80. January 23, 2009 at 18:36

    Whether America is a Christian nation is not the issue, but a distraction. America needs to regain a sense of FAMILY, and religion aids in that effort. I am a 33-year old married man with two children. I study Christianity and Buddhism. Most of my friends are still single, chasing date after date, as well as material items. The problem with secularism isn’t that people “don’t beleive;” it’s the side-effect of creating a society where family and values are not affirmed.

  81. 81 Staci Norman
    January 23, 2009 at 18:36

    The only people who think the US is a christian country are Christians. I am agnostic and the idea that the laws of the US should be driven by the religious beliefs of a portion of our country is extremely offensive to me. The idea the morality is a christian trait alone is also extremely offensive. I do not need to believe in a higher being in order to have moral quality or character. Gods law and government law are not one in the same.

    Freedom of religion and freedom from religion are the foundations of our nation. If a law is passed based on one person’s religious beliefs, it infringes on my right to freedom from religion. Religion of any kind should set aside when it comes to forming the laws of our country and when working with other countries.

  82. January 23, 2009 at 18:36

    Religious conservatives seem to want to take over the government of the U.S. They see themselves as being persecuted for their faith while they themselves have no problem persecuting those that don’t believe as they do. As a gay man I am disgusted with their stance on homosexuality and their fear mongering concerning gay equal rights.

  83. 83 Kevin
    January 23, 2009 at 18:36

    What was the religion of the original American Indians? They were displaced by “new” settlers, inhabitants who displaced them with new weapons.

    Flash forward to today, America is a christian country, but it is tolerant, quite tolerant of others religions.
    Obama seems to be more open to non believers than Bush was.

  84. January 23, 2009 at 18:37

    America might be seen as a Christian nation but it’s full of a diverse population and we should expect our leaders to govern with all in mind, not just those who happen to believe the same as they do. To return to an earlier point about the definition of morality, morality is the set of rules or principles we have to help us distinction between right and wrong. This is not exclusively religious in nature. A person of another faith or no faith can absolutely understand right and wrong without having a God, Yahweh, Allah or the like to follow.

  85. 85 Ogola Benard
    January 23, 2009 at 18:38

    Being a president does not mean you should drop your faith??

  86. 86 jens
    January 23, 2009 at 18:38

    listening to the first half of your debate i can only say:
    if america were really a secular country, a debate like yours would not be happening.
    is the us perceived as a christian country? well from here, where i am writing from (berlin, germany): YES. far too christian.
    i personally do not know whether my chancellor believes or not – and i do not care.
    as long as i perceive ethical thinking in a person, whether they believe or not makes no difference (and note, i use the word ethical, not moral).
    personal note: i, as an atheist, feel deeply offended by all you christians, who deny me ethics or a morality. all atheists i know are very ethical people. many religious people are not.

  87. 87 Matt Henderson
    January 23, 2009 at 18:38

    I do not believe that churches should be tax-exempt in the United States. I simply don’t agree that churches play a decisively positive social role.

    Lancaster, PA

  88. 88 Paul W
    January 23, 2009 at 18:38

    The USA is a far from Christian nation. Easter is not celebrated with public holidays, or even half-days to go celebrate.

    And with a Muslim raised president the US will move even further from the secular church.

  89. January 23, 2009 at 18:38

    distinguish instead of distinction

  90. 90 Ian, Las Vegas (via London)
    January 23, 2009 at 18:38

    Yes USA is still a Christian nation, but its the last bastion in the western world and I fear not for much longer. The politically correct brigade who push things like diversity see Christians as oppressive and backward because they oppose things that they value; gay marriage for instance. The UK has always been less religous than the USA, but here even the national religion is criticised, while other “diverse” views are held in high regard. A woman was told not to wear her crucifix because it might offend others, but then muslims can weak burkas and sikhs, turbins and if you say anything about how it offends you – you better watch out. The push against christianity is a push by the PC people to erode western (oppressive eurocentric) values and replace them with their multicultural diversified utopia where everyone is happy and can do whatever they want – as long as it agrees with what they believe in!

  91. 91 kelly preeper
    January 23, 2009 at 18:39

    I think people should consider: when the president says, “God bless america” or “so help me god”–there is no one specifying a christian god, or a muslim god, or a pagan god. There is no need for God to be the property of christians alone. The us is a land of diversity, and needs to try to be more inclusive as opposed to exclusive.

  92. 92 Jacob Edmonds
    January 23, 2009 at 18:39

    Morality has to be concrete, based on something. Otherwise it will shift and change with popular culture and mob sentiment. Our nation was founded on the principles found in the Bible and the 10 commandments. If you remove those then there is no Rule of Law.

  93. 93 Christian
    January 23, 2009 at 18:40

    if the US is a Christian country, we would not be such a staunch supporter of Israel. It is clear we are also a Jewish nation. Zwhat is more clear is that we have been outwardly a non-muslim country.

  94. January 23, 2009 at 18:41

    I am a citizen, currently residing in San Diego, raised in Gainesville, FL. America is a nation of Christians. However, I believe that modern day America has enlarge forgotten what the word tolerance means:


    “1. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.

    2. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one’s own.

    3. interest in and concern for ideas, opinions, practices, etc., foreign to one’s own; a liberal, undogmatic viewpoint


  95. 95 Steve
    January 23, 2009 at 18:41

    I think that religion has very little place in politics. The president was elected by the people to do what is right for “the people” and that does not mean just the christians, just the jews or just the muslims. It means ALL the people. The president was elected because of his beliefs, personality and his promises. He was not elected because he is Christian. We could have elected a person from any religious belief…. or maybe not because we seem to be so righteous in our own beliefs and nearsightedness. We should remember that we have morals, but when you have to make decisions on the basis of impacts to other people and not just yourself, you have to make the right choice whether you think it is right for YOU or not.
    Our past leader ran the country based on what was right for HIM for the most part and disregarded what was right for the populus for the most part.

  96. January 23, 2009 at 18:42

    I’m hearing on the program people saying that the President should make sure this is a Christian nation. Apparently they aren’t familiar with the Constitution, which clearly states in Article VI that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” That seems to make it pretty clear that we aren’t to choose our President on the basis of religion and so it would be rather silly to expect there to be a Presidential duty to impose a religion upon the American populace.

  97. 97 brinda Rao
    January 23, 2009 at 18:42

    Probably the tragedy of Religion is that people and circumstances have changed over the decades but there has not been any updating of religious rules and belief.

    If freedom is applicable to everyone then if a president of a country believes in a religion then he/she must be allowed to do so.This person was elected by a vast majority of people following different religion and belief i am sure he is well educated and mature to keep that in mind.

  98. 98 kathleen
    January 23, 2009 at 18:42

    We are a culturally Christian nation. As a progressive Christian, I resent the Catholic church and fundamentalists defining stating their morality is “Christian” morality, particularly regarding gays, abortion, and many other social issues.

  99. January 23, 2009 at 18:43

    America was founded on Christianity, but for many years now has been a haven for those seeking religious freedom.

    Today, keeping religion out of politics is what works, as long as the President is a responsible, accepting, loving, and honest person, I believe any organized religion would consider that a valuable candidate to be President.

  100. 100 Patti in Cape Coral
    January 23, 2009 at 18:43

    Hi WHYS,

    My daughter is at USF in her first year, and she was dismayed to find that a lot of the time there are Christian groups who will “preach to her”, in the guise of taking a questionnaire. She tells them that she leads a life that follows ideals that are Christian, such as no sex before marriage, behaving yourself, etc., but that she does that out of goodness for goodness’ sake, and she is not sure what she believes in. They told her to make up her mind about it, otherwise she will burn in hell. We are resigned to the fact that some Christians feel compelled to push their beliefs on others, which is really annoying, even if they might mean well.

  101. 101 Shubie
    January 23, 2009 at 18:44

    To Steve who confuses the word “God” with Christianity:

    They are not one and the same! I don’t see any place in the national anthem of Canada mention of a specific religion or denomination; say Christian, Baptist, etc. The separation of church and state is about keeping organized religion from the affairs of a nation. God doesn’t represent one church/religion alone, no matter how hard you try.

  102. 102 Matt Henderson
    January 23, 2009 at 18:44

    Christianity is the religion of choice of Americans. Christianity is NOT the “official religion” of America.

  103. 103 liz
    January 23, 2009 at 18:45

    Is Obama a Christian? I think he probably is. If he is not, however, who cares? As long as he is good and fair, strong and honest what does it matter? Generosity of spirit and kindness towards others is not the perogative of the christian (or any) religion.

  104. 104 Ken Bushnell
    January 23, 2009 at 18:46

    Is America a Christian nation?


  105. 105 Sue
    January 23, 2009 at 18:47

    Fundamental Christians, a group which includes a minority of Americans, have for years been been proclaiming this a “Christian Country”, just as they proclaim that “God” opposes abortion and gay marriage, and that those of us who conduct our lives outside of superstition and religion are incapable of “moral” behavior. Their loud and continuous repetition does not validate these opinions. Now, joined by the Catholic hierarchy in promoting their primary “moral” issues–the abortion and gay rights arguments–they intimidate politicians and exert a terribly damaging influence on the conduct of American government.

  106. 106 Patti in Cape Coral
    January 23, 2009 at 18:47

    HI WHYS!

    My daughter is frequently acosted by Christian groups at USF in Tampa. She gets very depressed when she is often told she is going to burn in hell for not being a believer. It doesn’t seem to matter that she lives a life that is consistent with Christian beliefs, being good, no sex before marriage, etc., the belief is all! I tell her to just resign herself to it, because I think because of their beliefs, they feel compelled to save everyone, no matter how obnoxious it makes them!

  107. 107 Lisa from Kent
    January 23, 2009 at 18:47

    The US is *not* a Christian nation, and I am sick of people calling it that! I am a pagan, and I am highly offended when people call the US a Christian nation. It was founded by people seeking religious freedom, and granted they were Christian, but the founding fathers later were more humanist or deist than Christian. The great thing about the US is not that we are a democracy and ruled by majority, but that we have a Bill of Rights and Constitution- which protects the minority *from* the majority. Horrible atrocities have been committed because the majority thought that they were right. It’s time to get past the idea that a majority of US citizens are Christian and thus the US is a Christian nation. We are made up of many great peoples, and they all have a place in the US- let’s treat them as if all people have a place at the table.

  108. 108 Matt Henderson
    January 23, 2009 at 18:47

    Our nation was founded on largely secular enlightenment principles, not “Judeo-Christian” ones.

  109. 109 Ogola Benard
    January 23, 2009 at 18:48

    What about the book of the mormon?

  110. January 23, 2009 at 18:48

    btw, Muslims believe in Jesus ( peace be upon him ) and all the other prophets followed by the Christians



  111. January 23, 2009 at 18:48

    From the speakers on the show, it is evident that not all of them agree that America is a totally Christian nation. The beauty of the discussion there are speakers who agree that there are other religions that should be recognised and personal freedom should be preserved.

  112. 112 Stephen in Florida
    January 23, 2009 at 18:48

    I think that we are seen as a Christian nation by the world. However, our halo seems to have slipped a bit over the last eight years

    Whether the world sees America as a Christian nation or not is not as important as how America treat the rest of the world.

  113. 113 Nathan
    January 23, 2009 at 18:50

    There was a question about whether the Constitution mentions God or Christian values. It does not.

  114. 114 Mike O'Brien
    January 23, 2009 at 18:50

    we are a DEMOCRATIC nation. period.

    Mike O’Brien
    Portland, Oregon

  115. 115 Martin korir
    January 23, 2009 at 18:53

    I am an African from Kenya and i think we should test a president for his policies, human values and how they can make our lives beter with or without religion. Though Christian Presidents seam safe to work with. Thank you.

  116. 116 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    January 23, 2009 at 18:53

    As an American, I helped elect a black man as President. As an American, I await the day I can help elect a person who professes no religion.

  117. 117 James from Tampa...
    January 23, 2009 at 18:54

    We don’t debate if America is the third largest country in square miles. We don’t debate that it has roughly 300,000,000 people. We don’t debate that its highest point is Mt. McKinley. The simple fact is they are not debated because they are known facts. But the debate about a Christian America has gone on and on. You can’t prove the negative. The fact that this debate remains in play is obviously because the answer is no. The natural god in the constitution is the god of deism, not of Christianity.

  118. 118 Jason
    January 23, 2009 at 18:54

    The US president should not be judged on their religion. Why is it so hard to separate Church and State. The president needs to be elected and judged on actions, not religion. It’s apples and oranges, completely different. So, he was sworn in with a hand on a bible. I look at it as tradition.
    When I’m at a job, I’m not judged on my religion, why do we have to do it to our government?

  119. 119 Tuan Nguyen
    January 23, 2009 at 18:54

    It’s a clear fact to me that US is a democratic country. So if the people – or matter of factly – the majority of its people decide to call it a Christian country then US is a Christian country, until the people change their mind. Right now I believe that the majority of the US population still desire to call it a Christian country.

  120. 120 Mike O'Brien
    January 23, 2009 at 18:54

    we are a DEMOCRATIC nation. period.

    Mike O’Brien
    Portland, Oregon

  121. 121 Alec Thompson
    January 23, 2009 at 18:54

    There is no such thing as a Christian Country!

    There is only a Christian Individual or a country chacterised by Christian ethics, values and principles

  122. January 23, 2009 at 18:56

    Just by say we are a Christian nation we oppress others, they are not free. That is not a very Christian thing to do.

  123. 123 David Mensah
    January 23, 2009 at 18:56

    America is a democracy not a Theocracy.

  124. January 23, 2009 at 18:58

    America is a Christian Nation and the day she chooses to deny that, the carpet will be taking away from Her….. Christ is not in need of People. America founding Fathers knew that that is why the bible plays major role in every sphere of activities ….. I am embarrassed to hear Christian American ask this question…. It’s like asking Saudi Arabia if it’s a Muslim Nation.

  125. 125 LinoA
    January 23, 2009 at 18:58

    Hello Florida from the small Mediterranean island of Malta. Yes, America does project the image of a Christian nation. However, America separates its State from its various religions extremely well. Coming from a Catholic country where the Catholic Church holds so much power that politicians are AFRAID of even discussing the issue of Divorce, this fact is clear and recognisable from afar and long may it continue in this way.

  126. January 23, 2009 at 18:59

    I have to disagree with ‘Steve in boston’. He implies that everything between (secular) coasts in the US is the Bible Belt. We’re snowbirds in Naples, FL from Colorado, and atheists. However, it seems most, if not all, our snowbird neighbors from the NE Corridor are very religious. Are we the exception that proves the rule?
    Great show, very entertaining and educational!

  127. January 23, 2009 at 18:59

    Jesus said render unto Caesar that which is Caesars and render unto God that which is Gods!

  128. 128 bellaghzal Abdelali
    January 23, 2009 at 19:00

    i am Abdelali from Marrakech Morocco. Its clear that the majority of Americans are christians, but personnally i think that we should not judge a person on his religion but we should do so on his devotion to duty and intentions.

  129. 129 julius
    January 23, 2009 at 19:01

    America is a christian state ordained by God through its founding fathers.
    Any one who dislikes christians has a choice to go and live in an Islamic state,
    Hindu, pagan etc. It irritates me to hear people who have benefitted so much from the
    practice of the christian belief open their mouths in ignorance to condemn it.

  130. 130 Scott (M)
    January 23, 2009 at 19:02

    America was also founded on war, stealing land from native peoples and slavery. Should we celebrate this and cling to it too? So what if America’s warriors/founders/invaders were Christian. It aspires to be a place for all.

  131. January 23, 2009 at 19:07

    The American Indians believed in the land. They believe in the spirits and nature and the stars. Animals play a large part also.

  132. January 23, 2009 at 19:08

    America is a christian Nation. Christainity is the fibric of, and the solid foundation of America’s prosperity, development, and freedom.

  133. 133 jason
    January 23, 2009 at 19:26

    another pointless question from world have your say.

    yes, you could say America is a christian nation because most people living in it have CHOSEN to be christian. The point is that in America, your not going to control peoples beliefs. If you create a government offering people religious freedom, your going to end up with some religion or another having a majority. ( how could that not happen? ) and because our leaders are elected by the majority, we end up with a leader who shares the religious beliefs of the majority. What would you prefer world? an exact balance of all religions?

    The point is, nobody is forcing anything on anybody. In America you can believe whatever you want. just as long as you don’t hurt anyone else. the only people who CARE that we have a majority of christians here are the people who can’t fathom the idea of separation of church and state.

  134. 134 andrew from cleveland
    January 23, 2009 at 19:30

    America is first and foremost a representative democracy. People of faith tend to include their faith in everything they do including vote. This is why American law and policy seems to reflect Jewish and Christian values. As Christianity is the dominant religion in the US most Americans will tend to vote with those values. This is not to say that Christians in the US are all alike or even remotely agree with each other. There are so many varying takes on the Christian Bible you can hardly believe they are all reading the same text. George Bush and Barach Obama are both Christian but likely have greatly different ways of looking at it. If you go to a Catholic church ceremony and then go to a Southern Baptist ceremony or an AME ceremony you will be amazed at the difference.
    Please do not see America as a Christian nation, but as a democratic nation which has a large Christian population

  135. 135 Dave Chainey
    January 23, 2009 at 19:32

    The US is a Christian country. The problem is that it’s American Christianity, which is a perversion of the original faith. It’s all about money.

  136. 136 andrew from cleveland
    January 23, 2009 at 19:34

    The US president is an natural born US citizen and as such has the right to practice his beliefs in his way. That being said a Christian president should include the prayers associated with Christianity. The same would go for a Jewish president and for a Muslim president. Why should America hide its religions when many countries who criticize us actually force religion on their citizens or at the very least also do not hide it.

  137. 137 Tuan Nguyen
    January 23, 2009 at 19:40

    Religion is a power center. If US is no longer recognized as a non-christian country, it will no doubt be associated with another religion because all other religions will try with all their political might to fill in the vacuum.

    I will always vote to keep my US a Christian one.

  138. 138 colette & bob carlos
    January 23, 2009 at 19:56

    Our Founding Fathers were pragmatic but they were also men of faith. Their public and private utterances were laced with references to God, a Supreme Being, etc. Learning from the religious abuses in Europe, they wisely and firmly established “separation of church and state.” To this day, the United States does not have a state religion.
    However, they never intended that God should be banished from public ceremonies and displays. We happen to be Roman Catholic; our family and friends include athiests, fundamentalists, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindu, Buddists, etc. and we respect each others’ beliefs. No one in our extended family is offended if we wish them a “Merry Christmas” or if they greet us with a “Happy Holiday” for we know it’s a sincere expression of happiness and good will.
    Why “winter break” instead of Christmas Holiday or “spring break” instead of Easter? What we object to is the strident and aggressive effort to eliminate the right of the faithful, any faith, to acknowledge our God in public.

  139. 139 Sal
    January 23, 2009 at 20:31

    I am a Muslim and I think if all Americans were “true” Christians, it would be just wonderful for all the world as well as themselves. I do not see anything wrong if government’s policy based on religious values (do not confuse with radicalism).
    I agree with Steve from Boston who said in his comment above that Europe is facing problems luck of Christianity, but in a different sence. And would be very interesting to hear from BBC about religion issues in UK!

  140. 140 renee sulli
    January 23, 2009 at 20:45

    i was offended by how much christianity and religion took center stage in the inaguration. yes, many americans r christian and yes, so is our new president. but isn’t this supposed to b a secular government? the last 8 yrs have been justified in the name of a religion that has been distorted and manipulated to justify torture and war. i’ve had enough! please, obama, leave religion out of politics. religion and spirituality is a personal matter that should stay in churches and homes and where ever else ppl want to practice but does not belong in decision making about our domestic or foriegn policies. this only creates unneeded religous tension and divisions.

  141. 141 John P.
    January 23, 2009 at 21:59

    Is America a “Christian Nation”? Absolutely ‘no’ if judged by whether it’s government policies and citizens’ behavior are in line with the basic tenets of the Christian religion.

    Absolutely ‘yes’ if judged by whether it’s political leaders and citizens cling to overt displays of religiosity in order to further their personal political agendas and interests.

  142. 142 Virginia
    January 24, 2009 at 00:01

    America is NOT a Christian Nation.

    It is forbidden by the US Constitution. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Bill of Rights, Amendment I.

    To claim to be a Christian Nation is in direct violation of this precious document. Does anyone pay attention to it anymore?

    End of discussion.

  143. January 24, 2009 at 01:21

    For Nigerians like myself who are thousands of kilometers away from America, we always have this view of America as a chritian nation due to the fact that majority of Americans are christians; so from this standpoint I agree hook line and sinker with any one who says America is a christian nation.

  144. 144 Tom D Ford
    January 24, 2009 at 01:38

    Someone once said words something like “mankind will not be free until the last monarch is hanged by the entrails of the last priest”, and those words are still true today, though in different forms.

    The US is the first great experiment in mankind ruling himself by man-made laws instead of supernatural laws as handed down and interpreted by priests. We have been mostly free from the tyranny of religion and tyranny by religious people.

    We have to be ever vigilant against rule by religionists. They are the bane of mankind!

    We are trying to be what Lincoln called “a government of the People, by the People, and for the People”, and for the most part we have succeeded. We are successful in spite of religion, not because of religion.

  145. 145 Damon Loop
    January 24, 2009 at 04:00

    Is any? Political correctness ensures that Christianity (which is the basis for western society today) is sidelined. How many American children know bible stories?

  146. 146 MAWARDI-Indonesia
    January 24, 2009 at 04:21

    American is Christian country, Israel is Jewish country, and Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Palestint, and many more are Islam countries. Country, not nation! It’s different.

  147. 147 Donovan
    January 24, 2009 at 04:29

    The point has not been made that if we were indeed a Christian nation it would follow that our CULTURE would be clearly identified as being Christian.
    I submit it is not!

    If truely 80% of all Americans are Christian (as claimed on this program) the
    CULTURE of this country would be readily identifible as such…
    I submit our culture is not representative of a “Christian Natiion”.

    We are a “secular-hedonistic” society as evidenced by our culture.

    May God have mercy on us.

  148. 148 Don W. Lax Michigan, USA
    January 24, 2009 at 04:31

    The idea of a “wall of Separation” between Church and State is contained nowhere in the language of the U.S. Constitution but was in fact used in a dialogue which occured in 1801 between Thomas Jefferson and Reverend Roger Williams of the Baptist Church of Danbury Connecticut. Jefferson used the phrase in his letter not to assert that the government was afraid of being influenced by salubrious Christian principles but rather to assure the Baptists that the government which contained an overwhelming proponderance of Congregationalists would not infringe upon the rights of other denominations to practice their faith as they saw fit. The protection provided by the proposed “wall” was understood to be a one-way protection of religion from the government – not vice versa. Now it is indeed unfortunate that atheistic
    religions are not recognized for what the United States Supreme Court has on more than one ocasion deemed them to be – RELIGIONS which are no more entitled to special privelege than any other. The Wall of Separation concept was intended as a guarantee that no DEMONINATION would be allowed to dictate doctrine or practice to another but somewhere along the way it got lost that Christianity is not a denomination. Now atheists claim an inherent right to dictate what school textbooks should teach about the origin of life based upon the fraudulent claim that they are not merely godless religions. This gross distortion of the intent of the founding fathers bodes ill for the country.

  149. 149 Murali Nair
    January 24, 2009 at 05:52

    Dear friends,
    Is America a Christian Nation? I am very sure that it is not. Those who claim that America is a christian nation never understand the true meaning of Christianity. Those who follw Christ is known as Christians. Are Americans follow Jesus Christ? Americans will never claim this. Then……..

    Thanks a lot

  150. 150 A. Stanton
    January 24, 2009 at 08:23

    Look at any US Military base and you will find Christian missionaries, just like Christian missionaries followed the colonial powers of the past.

    At home, non-christians are subtly pressured to accept a ceremonial deism with tacit approval. Some might say that Christian missionaries, or soldiers and expats acting privately as Christians, are not part of the government and therefore not to be confused with the U.S. as a nation. However, things like military conquest, democracy, capitalism, media technology, medical and farming assistance, literacy programs, and direct funding are all vehicles for allowing further opportunities for preaching the word of God. When Americans go overseas to live, or study, they need facilities of worship, which then become centers for witnessing. Like the ideological battles between communism and capitalism, the battle for the minds and souls of men happens at the micro level, by convincing them to marry their own kind, or with similar beliefs, or from their own church, or conducting business only with their fellows, by shopping at their stores, and by creating a “taste” for a certain kind of dress, certain kind of talk, certain kind of sport.

    If you want to convert “the Other”, first introduce them to CocaCola, or baseball, simply wearing a collared shirt one day a week. That little gesture is the foot in the door, the crack in the dam. Its truly unfortunate that the march of Christianity was so pervasive– I would have like to seen how different the US might be (and the world) with greater contributions from other, colonized and non-christian peoples.

  151. January 24, 2009 at 09:09

    I am a Christian and I can tell you that the United States of America is not a Christian nation.

  152. 152 Andy
    January 24, 2009 at 09:29

    Maybe america used to claim to be a chrstian country and maybe George Bush claimed to be a chrstian. But the actions of millions of intolerante americans, often referred tto as the “bible belt”, including the ex president would never be considered the act of true chrstians. The compassion and hope the President Obama has promised brings him far closer to the chrstian religion than Bush could ever be.

    Bush did to get votes and stay rich after his term in office, he had no intersest in helpting the ordinary man, his presidency was designed to line the pockets of his father and his cronies. Thankfully he was so transparent with his ambitions that we very unlikely to see hios brother in office. i.e Be happy George messed up so badly, we might have got Jed next.

  153. 153 Paul W
    January 24, 2009 at 11:44

    To Debbie in Cleveland…..

    Have you given up doing Dallas then ? 😉

  154. 154 Shakhoor Rehman
    January 24, 2009 at 11:53

    Depends what you mean by Christian. If the meaning is all things to all people the answer is yes.

  155. 155 Shakhoor Rehman
    January 24, 2009 at 11:54

    Depends on the meaning of Christian. If it is all things to all people(St Paul) the answer is yes.

  156. 156 Gary Morse
    January 24, 2009 at 23:54

    On the program, one of the people interviewed, sorry I don’t remember his name, said that the dictionary defines morality as God’s law. The definition in the American Heritage dictionary makes no mention of God’s law?

  157. January 25, 2009 at 00:59

    Wow – that generated a lot of interest! I would agree that America is a Christian nation, at least by a couple of definitions. The makeup of its population is strongly Christian and a huge amount of its history is based on Christianity in one way or another. The Supreme Court of the United States has twice declared that this is a Christian nation. They were not saying that anyone should (or could) be forced to practice Christianity; they were simply recognizing our history and demographics.

    Did you know that our Founders (the same ones who ratified the First Amendment) attended Christian worship services in the U.S. Capitol Building? Or that they commissioned a printing of 20,000 Holy Bibles for our young republic? There are many, many more examples here: http://churchvstate.blogspot.com/search?q=christian+nation

  158. 158 erich
    January 25, 2009 at 06:20

    no. we are not a christian nation, according to the first ammendment to our const.

  159. 159 Lynda Finn
    January 25, 2009 at 06:59

    How can anyone say with honesty that any nation is Christian? A nation is made up of people, all of whom have a different spiritual ethic or none at all.
    The Fundamentalist Christian right wing are no better than Taliban but are they “America”? Dr Martin Luther King Jr was a Christian of a different ilk, but how many are like him?
    If Christianity means love and tolerance and understanding, then few of us can truly call ourselves Christian, let alone a whole nation!

  160. January 25, 2009 at 14:02

    I believe that the United States of America was in the 18th century a nation of people who were christian in their majority. Later, many immigrants of different religions came to the U.S. and became true citizens. I believe that America is not a christian nation because it has this diversity of religions on its soil. America shouldn’t be a christian nation only but a nation of freedom of religious practice.I believe that religion should be removed from political procedures.

  161. 161 Nirabh
    January 25, 2009 at 14:11

    America is a country with people of various cultures, religions and thoughts. Even though the country has a majority of Christians, it would be contradictory to the very idea of America as a multi-cultural and multi-religious country to say the country was a Christian one.

  162. 162 caesar
    January 25, 2009 at 16:41

    “in god we trust”. which god? that of Christainity. not allah, not budha, not any other but that of jesus. america was founded by christains and christain principles. Christainity has always dominated and will continue to do so. if more people profess christainty then america is a christain nation. QED

  163. 163 Alfonso
    January 25, 2009 at 16:49

    America is a continent not a nation. And the BBC should acnowledge this. The use of America intended for the US offends deeply the rest of the american countries.

  164. 164 Jonathan
    January 25, 2009 at 22:06

    Q: Is America a Christian nation?
    A: Contrary to the program description above the title question is cultural rather than policy oriented and limited litmus-test questions like those being discussed. Culturally we remain a Christian nation. Slowly that atrophies but not so much yet that we can say we’re, the US, something other that Christian (eg: secular).

    The social/cultural inquiry is a far more complex conversation than single examples of public ritual & select media excerpts. More relevant too.

  165. January 26, 2009 at 01:06

    Yes, America is a Christian Nation….

    ~Dennis Junior~

  166. 166 Swornim
    January 26, 2009 at 03:11

    What does if mean to be a Christian Nation? Does it mean more facilities for the Christians? I am still confused what does it mean to be a christian nation :-0
    I’ll leave that one there but Mr. Obama taking oath on the bible that Abraham Lincoln; he didn’t focus on Christianity but on ‘End to discrimination and so on’. He wanted to show that he will follow the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln.
    Its obvious because there was no bible in the second oath.

  167. January 26, 2009 at 08:05

    I don’t think America is a christian nation, i believe they have very influential christian groups and a right-wing conservative party that harps on christian ideals.

  168. 168 Akintunde
    January 26, 2009 at 10:15

    Honestly, i do not think it matters whatever religion America is based…. Please let us agree first that we are human beings. I hate religion… it distracts us from what should be done to develop our world. No one knows what is in the here after. why not make your stay on earth better first and leave the beyond till we all get there? All we will keep doing is to speculate and the more we spend time speculating, the more our world will fall apart due to neglect. Akintunde From Nigeria.

  169. 169 sandy
    January 26, 2009 at 11:18

    It’s foreign policy over a great number of years would make ‘christian’ a denigratory and extremely hypocritical term, anyway. The US is a major capitalist power – it acts in the interests of the minority of it’s capitalists who own the majority of its wealth. As such whether it is labelled christian or not misses the point of how and why it actually operates in the world, and how it will continue no matter what ethical window dressing is provided or promised.

  170. 170 Don W. Lax Michigan, USA
    January 26, 2009 at 12:17

    Since for some unfathomable reason my comment but not several which were published after it was submitted is “awaiting moderation” I will “moderate” it for you.
    Distracting and diverting the focus of debate toward argument about impertinent and largely irrelevant considerations will acheive nothing. The question is not one amenable by recourse to demographic analysis such as what a “majority” of the people choose to believe. Majorities have at various times in history demonstrated themselves to very capable as a mis-guided herd of formally institutionalizing some very socially insalubrious policies. Claiming that “the Founding Fathers” were a group of atheists or generally agnostic “humanists” is simply a desparate, historicaly false revanchist claim.
    Christ summarized ALL relevany law into two overarching propositions:
    1) Love God above all else
    2) Love your neighbor as yourself
    Any individual or group of collectively acting people who claim to obey the second injunction on grounds that it is justifiable on “humanistic” grounds but recalcitreantly refuse to acknowledge the first
    are not obeying the most simply explained teachings of Christ and hence are not Chrisitian according to the servicable definition He Himself annunciated.

  171. 171 philip adanu
    January 26, 2009 at 13:20

    whether we like it or not,religion will play a major part in politics.religion is not alien to humanity, and as such cannot be divorced from human activities.in the middle east,it is okay for religion to be part of politics and vice versa,why should america be expected to be different?

  172. 172 Keth from Jamaica
    January 27, 2009 at 07:17

    Hi WHYS,

    Christianity is a personal belief made by individuals not by a nation. Therefore, the topic in itself is falsely stated hence the many emotive responses from across the world. If there ever was a nation that could be described a Christian, it would be my homeland that has the world record for the number of Christian churches per square mile; we also hold records for violence, secular music and other vices.
    This proves my point then of the falsehood of the topic – the adjective (Christian) ought not to be used to describe any nation because a nation is incapable of confessing a belief in Christ.

    Calm down all, WHYS has found the right buttons to push to incite a email riot (of sorts).
    To Scott from Scotland, why do you believe God has a beard?? (LOL)

  173. 173 Ricardo
    January 27, 2009 at 15:38

    I must confess. Watching the inauguration I was struck by the the impact of religion. Iraq and Afghanistan as a crusade. Chrstian Western values pitted against Muslim Eastern values. All this stereotypes received real implicit credence and came to the fore in my mind as I viewed the sermon preceding the oath taking. Yes, judging by the ceremony that inauguraters the Most powerful person in the world – The US depicts a Christian country even though religions from all countries abide there.

  174. 174 Tom D Ford
    January 27, 2009 at 16:48

    If “God” wants to participate in the United States he has to show up in person, show proof of legal residence, and register to vote.

    Since “God” has not showed up at all, let alone with proof of legal residence, and has not registered to vote, “God” has no say.

    Therefore, the United States is not a Christian Nation.

    Now, since the United States was established by humans, to govern themselves with with human-made laws, we can confidently say that the US is a Human Nation.

  175. 175 Mike
    January 27, 2009 at 20:10

    I find it ironic how he was sworn in with his hand on the bible, but later said that, “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and nonbelievers”

  176. 176 scott
    April 9, 2009 at 05:33

    The basic laws that have governed the United States since it’s inception were based on the biblical Ten Commandments, which come from the Old Testament, written & recorded before the birth of Christ. The Declaration of Independence & US Constitution were both documents containing language referring to a single Creator or God. There is no mention of Christ in any of the founding documents. Furthermore, Thomas Jefferson was a Deist while Benjamin Franklin was an atheist. This current argument from America’s conservative right wing is transparently political. But what else would you expect from an evaporating ideology?

  177. 177 Kate
    July 12, 2009 at 05:27

    Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were the least religious but there were 54 other founding fathers. 26 of them had Seminary degrees. John Adams was a devout Christian who wrote “there can be no legitimate government but what is administered by this Holy Ghost”. Does this sound secular? In his last official address to the legislature, George Washington said “I now make it my earnest prayer that God would… most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of the mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion.” Please note the “our blessed religion”. Jesus, believed to be part of the Holy Trinity by the founding fathers, is the Creator invoked in the founding documents. Writings of the founding fathers bear this out. The first English Bible printed in America, printed to be used in schools, was endorsed by Congress. America was founded a Christian nation. 75 percent of the population currently identify themselves as Christians. Being tolerant of other religions does not change this. By any measure America was and is a Christian nation. While not politically correct it is, none the less, the truth.

  178. 178 Dr.A.K.Tewari
    March 11, 2010 at 16:00

    A person should be judged by religion he or she profess but state should not .

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