Friday, January 1, 2010

Christianity and Early America

Lately, there has seemed to be an acceleration in the number of voices proclaiming that America has never been a Christian country. Those voices now include the President.

But at least in this blog I have not claimed that America was officially a Christian nation, so obviously voices that say we never had an official national religion would not offend me in the least. I agree. However, when people claim that we have no Christian roots or traditions, I can't agree. Nor, it seems, would the U.S. National Archives. According to one of their publications:

"Religion has always been important in America. During the colonial and Revolutionary eras, religion permeated the lives of Americans. Blue laws kept the Sabbath holy and consumption laws limited the actions of everyone. Christianity was one of the few links that bound American society together from Maine to Georgia. The Bible, in addition to being the divine word of God that would guide people through life's journey to the next world, served as a textbook for history, a source book for morals, a primer for mothers to teach their children how to read, and a window through which to view and understand human nature. With the high death rate, especially among infants, childbearing women, and seafarers. Americans stoically resigned themselves to the will of God. Because religion and morality were seen as necessary components of stable society, colonial and Revolutionary government supported religion. Clergymen were among the most influential members of the community and many of them actively participated in government."

From the National Archives publication Annotation, by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, Vol. 30.1, March 2002, page 1.


LexAequitas said...

Perhaps you ought to find someone who actually asserts this, and then argue them. You could even link to them and quote them in your posts.

Otherwise, you could be accused of arguing against a strawman.

History Matters said...


Re: posting links. I'll think about that. It's a good idea, but frankly I hesitate to build up link "weight" for sites I disagree with - it tends to make them rank as more authoritative in Google, etc. Still, I will give it consideration. Thanks!