Wednesday, October 06, 2010

What Makes America American?

What follows is the first part of a piece I wrote for the October 2010 Lutheran Witness. You can read the whole thing at, if you are so inclined.  Enjoy!

Is America a Christian nation? Ask this question, and you’ll probably get responses that run across the spectrum from “Yes” to “No,” including “Yes, but . . .” and “No, but . . .”
To many people it just seems so plainly obvious: Of course, the United States is a Christian nation! How could it be otherwise?

Many people in The Lutheran Church— Missouri Synod are absolutely convinced that this is so. At the same time, there are plenty of people—people who attend LCMS congregations—that are convinced that America is not a Christian nation, properly speaking. And, there are plenty of people that fall at some point on the spectrum between these two poles.

Why the divide? Shouldn’t this be simple?

In fact, it’s not. Answering this question often raises more questions. What is necessary for a nation to be Christian? Specific biblical statements in constitutional documents? A majority of citizens holding membership in Christian churches? A majority of citizens actually going to a Christian church each week? Beyond these, some wonder whether one can be a good Christian and a good American at the same time. Is there really a wall of separation between the church and the state here in the United States?

Perhaps the better question is simply this: What is it that makes America American? And what is it that makes an American an American?

1 comment:

roger said...

Being born in Wyoming makes an American and American. All others have to work up to it!! :-)