The fundies are carrying on about how the United States is a “Christian” nation, which is their way of saying that we should be a theocracy ruled over by a gaggle of televangelists. Instead of taxes we’d simply send a dollar bill to the address on our television screen. Not only would that fund our public services, it would also get us prayed for.
But let’s say, just for the fun of it, that we were a Christian nation. What exactly would that entail? Well, in Matthew 25:35 Jesus says, “For I hungered and you gave me meat; I was thirsty and you gave me drink.”
I suppose that means that a Christian nation would feed its hungry, clothe its naked and shelter its homeless. That sort of plays havoc with the religious right’s belief that poverty is a sign of God’s displeasure. It also means a Christian nation would have one hell of a strong safety net. In a Christian nation no child would go to be hungry; no family would be homeless; no individual would be denied adequate health care; its prisons would focus on rehabilitation instead of punishment; it would honor humility instead of celebrity; and it would value love over strength.
But it gets tougher. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus enjoins us to “turn the other cheek.” In other words, a Christian nation would only resort to violence as a last resort when all other means had been exhausted. It would also mean that a Christian nation would not maintain an obscenely bloated defense establishment. It would mean that the nation would play nice in its conduct of foreign affairs instead of starting wars of aggression and exploiting Third World countries for their resources.
A Christian nation would see all persons as children of God; there would be no illegal immigrants or racially inferior “others;” it would value people over money or property. A Christian nation would embrace all of creation as a gift from God for which they were expected to be responsible stewards instead of rapacious exploiters.
Instead of the Ten Commandments, a Christian nation would hand the Beatitudes in its public buildings, as Kurt Vonnegut suggested.
Is the United States a Christian nation?
I don’t think so.