Sunday, July 19, 2009

Christianity Is Part of Our National Culture

President Obama recently said that the United States is not a Christian nation. He is right if he means that we have no government-mandated religion that one is forced to practice. He is right if he means that we have more religions than Christianity represented in our population. But he is wrong if he is trying to be yet another modern voice saying that Christianity is not part of our history and traditions.

I'm old enough that, when I was in public school, we sang Christmas carols at the appropriate time of the year in general music class. At other times of the year we sang American folk songs, international folk songs, patriotic songs, and some old pop songs. But Christian songs in school were certainly the norm around Christmas time, and this was not considered controversial. They were also all over the culture, such as on the radio and television. For example, White Christmas is still recognized as the number one best-selling single recording of all time.

So it is not unusual to me that on the website of the National Institutes of Health there is a page with a mix of songs such as I described above, including several Christmas carols. The particular portion of the site is a test on musical tone sensitivity (tone-deafness test) found as part of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. It would not surprise me at all to hear some day that the ACLU or some other organization is suing the government claiming that this page violates the Constitution's establishment clause. A Claim that including Christmas carols in this mix of songs is establishing a religion seems obviously wrong-headed, but similar suits have been fought throughout our country in recent decades.

Is the federal government trying to "sneak one past" the watchers of the Constitution? Are they trying to corrupt our minds with Christian theology? Or are they simply choosing songs that the widest percentage of the population will recognize immediately? And if the latter is true, doesn't that say that Christianity is woven into the very fabric of our culture?

The music test can be found here:

Distorted Tunes Test

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