Van Dyke on Problems with the Christian Nation Question:
From our commenter, who is also a co-blogger at my other group blog. Worth a read. Here. A taste:
Was American Founded as a Christian Nation?
Lord knows our American Creation blog has spent so much cyberink about “Christian.” Do you have to buy into the whole deal, like Jesus is God, died for our sins? Many did, but not all, by any means.
Do you have to go to Holy Communion, like George Washington mostly didn’t? Many didn’t, not even most.
Or could you be a “Unitarian Christian,” like John and Abigail Adams [if not perhaps John Locke himself], and you still believed that the Bible was Divine Writ and Jesus was the Messiah, just not the Second Person of the Holy Trinity?
And as they ask today of a sect that followed after the Second Great Awakening in the 1820s, Are Mormons Christian?
God only knows.
Or to be more precise, only God knows, to paraphrase John Locke’s “A Letter Concerning Toleration,” because as he elegantly divined, no human being knows, that much we know for sure. Not governments, not clergymen, not even [!] historians.
This settled the question even for strict Calvinists like Samuel Adams, as he wrote in 1772’s The Rights of the Colonists.
Do you know? Me neither. Only God knows, if there is one. The Founders agreed that there is a God. One God, as a matter of fact. So, they decided to leave the rest up to Him, and that was a wise choice, per the wise Mr. Locke.