Establishing Christian America

We Americans like to think of our country as the most religious, the most Christian nation on the face of the earth.  In an irritating article I wrote for the Spectator (“America: Not A Christian Country,” August 27, 2005), I demonstrated the hollowness of this claim.  Whatever Americans may say they believe, they do not act like Christians.  In a comparison of America’s rates of divorce, teenage pregnancy, and abortion with those of E.U. countries, America’s reputation for Puritanism takes a beating.  Some of our rates are skewed by the somewhat different sexual mores of African- and Mexican-Americans, but they are, after all, Americans, and even discounting those minorities will not produce a statistical profile of the model citizens of the City on a Hill.  We do attend church services more frequently than Europeans do, but here, too, the numbers are skewed by the high number of churchgoing Christians who are elderly, Southern, and female.

Despite the number of religious fanatics who landed on our shores early on, America has never been a Christian nation.  Conservative evangelicals are fond of saying that the Founding Fathers were all pious Christians, but few of the men who led the Revolution or drafted the Constitution could be described as pious or even orthodox.  George Washington was an ordinary Episcopalian who showed no conspicuous attachment to religion. ...

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