At Christmas time in our country — a time that is so unmistakably Christian — I wonder about our country, which is divided into the majority and some minorities.
Simply put, the majority of Americans are Christians. For that reason our nation has all of the dressings of a Christian nation — the holidays, the majority Christian population and such things as the Ten Commandments prominently displayed in the Supreme Court.
Despite all of the trappings of a Christian nation, the problem is that in words this nation is quite Christian, but it is not in the actions it takes. As much as I would like this issue to be simple, I can find no way to make it so. Our money says that we trust in God, yet our courts say, in essence, there is no God.
We are struggling with the issue of national identity. Can we be a Christian nation even with significant populations of Muslims, Jews, Pagans and thousands of other belief systems spanning from believing there is nothing to believe to those Americans who have no other thoughts than of their religion?
This nation, for better or worse, is reflective of the majority letting a minority dictate to them how the nation is to be run and what the identity of the nation will be. This is easy to see, since Christian ideals are being removed from our society bit by bit.
But they’re not being removed by the majority; rather, they’re being removed by a small minority. While this occurs, the majority stands by, seemingly helpless to protect the identity of the nation and their majority viewpoint.
One certainty is that no other religious nation is grappling with this issue like we Americans are doing. Can you imagine a Muslim nation taking even the slightest step away from Islam because a minority of people in their country wished the nation to do so? It has not happened, nor will it happen.
Allowing a minority viewpoint to dominate the majority in things religious may give America the moral high ground over Muslim nations, but it might also indicate the majority population is either stupid or does not really have a firm Christian belief. More so, it is strange that a minority population would have such power in our country, since the bedrock of our country is the one-person, one-vote principle.
The majority of Americans are not voting to move from religion. It is a minority who make those changes without the consent of the voters. How odd it is that in our country the rule of vote does not function when it does not suit a minority viewpoint. That asks: Should we be a nation ruled by the majority viewpoint?
A popular vote would affirm Christian-nation status
The America of my youth was without doubt a Christian nation. While I was aware that not everyone believed as I did, nevertheless, I knew that most people had similar beliefs. I never wondered if my belief system was right, since there was no indication to me that it was not.
This was even more so with the Pledge of Allegiance, which I said every school day when I was in public school. It seemed to me that every day we mentioned God as in “Under God…”
This was a relatively recent change to the pledge. It was on Flag Day — June 14, 1954 — that then-President Dwight Eisenhower added those two most religious words to the Pledge of Allegiance: under God. For many years, those words were not in the pledge, but on that day the pledge changed into: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United State of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.”
The reference to God in the Pledge of Allegiance is where I find myself somewhat at odds with many people. I do not want to make people say “Under God,” nor even believe it. I have no enthusiasm for softly or more stringently trying to get other people to accept my religious beliefs as their own. The big HOWEVER is that I do not want a non-voting segment of the population to take these things from me.
Those who do not want to participate in specific religious activities like praying before sports contests are free to not do so, but I am offended if that is withheld, not by a vote of the majority of people but by a select minority. While I can and do pray regardless, and I can say, “Under God” under my breath, why should I when I am in the majority?
One of my recent columns asked if we could get our elected representatives to vote on our country being a Christian nation. There is no chance to get our politicians to vote on this subject because of the cowardice of our elected representatives who have allowed this to happen while taking our money and votes.
If Americans had a popular vote on our status as a Christian nation, that status would overwhelmingly be affirmed. That is an important question for the 2010 elections: Each politician needs to be asked, will you vote to uphold that our country is a Christian nation?
Those running for office who avoid the issue or vote against the Christian status for our nation may have trouble getting re-elected. I am especially against those who avoid the issue.
Swickard is a weekly columnist for this site. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.