Monday, April 6, 2009

Being a Judeo-Christian Nation

The United States of America is not a Judeo-Christian nation. Yet, President Obama is getting some heat for this statement he made in Turkey today:

"We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values."

President Obama's statement is aligned with the First Amendment of the Constitution:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

While many Americans are Christians we are most certainly not a Judeo-Christian nation. In a letter to the Dansbury Baptists, Thomas Jefferson wrote these words in reference to the First Amendment:

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.'"

In the Christian faith belief in God is a choice. How can a nation be such?


septembermom said...

I applaud President Obama for making that important distinction about America being an ideal-driven nation. It is important for Americans not to classify the United States under one form of belief. You provided perfect supporting quotes from the Constitution to uphold this truth.

judith ellis said...

I too applaud that distinction, septembermom.

Meena said...

I think Obama is right in stating that there is no lawful ordinance that makes it a Judeo-Christian nation. Currently, the dominant cultural influences of Judeo-Christian origin. But that can change. Once upon a time where was an anti-semitic vibe in quite a bit of the states, but it was passing. Just the same, the current fad that seems to be growing is Indian/Asian influence - from alternative medicine to music and clothing influences.

The US unlike other nations has the ability to morph, which sets it apart.

The Write Girl said...

I believe that is why the pilgrims settled on the shores of America...religious freedom.

Great post and so true.
PS I checked out the No. Ladies Detective Agency and I love it!! I like the setting in Africa. What a cool and unique show : )

judith ellis said...

Meena - It's interesting how often times we have to become one or the other or morph into a dominance of anything. Belief in God is personal. It would not matter to me what the predominate influence is Jesus is the Lord of my life and that will not change. I also completely respect the choices of others. This is the beauty of America to me. It is the personal right to believe and to gather and practice your faith.

judith ellis said...

Yes, to "religious freedom," The Write Girl!

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency is a great show! I'm glad you liked it! Jill Scott is great; she's a natural all around performer--actor and singer.

I'm going to Africa with my aunt over Christmas vacation this year and I'm really looking forward to it.