Did the American Revolution Produce a Christian Nation?

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Did the American Revolution Produce a Christian Nation?

Two essays in the book Taking Sides (Book titles must be underlined or italicized) are presented in the debate overas to whether or not the American Revolution produced a Christian nation. Nathan Hatch believes that the Revolution and Christianity went hand in hand, while Jon Butler suggests that the Revolution did not produce a Christian nation because prior to the Revolution the colonists never called themselves a Christian nation. So did the Revolution produce a Christian nation? It is my belief that the Revolution did not produce a Christian nation and that the United States of America is not a Christian nation now in our day in age. It is best to only justify the left margin, unless you are writing a magazine or newspaper article.

Nathan Hatch offers many examples of how the American Revolution created a Christian nation. He uses the revivals of John Leland and also offers the expansion of the many denominations that occurred after the Revolution. Hatch believed that the American Revolution and Christianity were inseparable. He adds that churches were instrumental in education and moral discipline, therefore predating the laws of the new nation.

Hatch believes that the wearing away of authority lead to the development of the colonists or lay people. That it was the lay people who now embodied what church would be, changing the church to their values and beliefs. Hatch believes the Revolution established or set a path for different religions to develop without being persecuted.

Jon Butler on the other hand believes that the American Revolution had nothing to do with creating a Christian nation. He states that on 20% of the population were members of a church and that many pastors would fib on their numbers to the Anglican Church in England. Also there were laws that forbid people from speaking out against the church or Christianity, which in Butler's belief shows just how pathetic Christianity was in America. He states that the numbers of Christians were very low and that Americans opposed a Christian national identity. Butler says that the attachment of these laws existed to compel Christian attachment but did nothing to measure the Christian commitment of the people.

Butler also states that the British colonies actually supported the Christian church before the war, even though only about 20% went to church. After the war the states reduced their contributions to the church.
I would say that history has shown that there were many men and women of faith in Revolutionary times. But to say that the Revolution created a Christian nation would be a mistake. Many different people founded America and not all of them were looking for religious freedom or to establish a Christian nation.

A great majority of these people were just looking to make a new life for themselves, be it because of religion or career. Christianity was never supposed to be a political religion. The early followers of Christ never sought to overthrow governments or establish Christian nations. They wanted to simply share the good news or the Gospel of Christ, and did not to set out and create a solely Christian nation. The Bible implores Christians to go out into the entire world and preach the Gospel, not to separate from the world, but to live in it.

The issue of whether or not the Revolution created a Christian nation has sparked debate for many years. People from both sides of the debate cite political figures that were either Christian or 'non-Christian' to support their case. For me the deciding factor was Butler's argument that the colonists did not identify themselves as a Christian nation before the Revolution and the fact that the Government separated itself from religion by pulling support from the church. I do believe that many colonists were Christians and some of them were seeking religious freedom from the Church of England but a great many more were just looking to free themselves from British rule.

James Madison once said, "What influence in fact have Christian ecclesiastical establishments had on civil society? (After a direct quote you need a citation) Madison objected to state-supported chaplains in Congress and to the exemption of churches from taxation. He wrote: "Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together." As a Christian I am glad that I do live in America and that I enjoy such great religious freedoms. However, one must look at history honestly and see that America was founded more for individual liberty rather than to produce a Christian nation. 90

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