Should our country, and we its people, be governed by religious edicts? If so, then what religion should rule? Or better yet what sub-denomination should rule? Does the majority automatically have the right to rule? I was interested in the statistical breakdown of the various religions currently represented in our country (so I looked it up), and came across this interesting article published last year Pew Research Center Article – May 12, 2015.
Statistically our country is 70.6% Christian, with 46.5% of those Christians being Protestant and only 25.4% of those Protestants identifying as Evangelicals. Those who believe the majority of Americans are Christian are correct. Based on the “majority rules” concept our government should therefore be Christian. But whose Christianity? The largest segment of Christians are Protestants, but they are not a clear majority and Evangelicals only makeup a quarter of the Christian population. So whose Christianity are we talking about anyway?
Factor in all of the other religions practiced in the United States and it gets even more confusing. But our founding fathers were all Christian. Not necessarily so, at least not to the extent where they could pass a religious acid test today. It may surprise you to know that such notables as George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and John Paine all had their doubts and differences of opinion regarding religion Founding Fathers Article.
American ideals were founded on pluralism, inclusion rather than exclusion. That is especially true in government. That we embrace a secular government is to our credit and not to our detriment. The freedom to worship as we wish is one of the cornerstones of our representative democracy. This freedom is a fundamental right of every American citizen. Historically people have fled religious persecution to immigrate to the United States.
Is Christian Sharia-style Law any better than Muslim *Sharia Law? Some would argue yes. I for one would not sacrifice my secular government on the altar of any religious shrine. Our form of government was established to protect the rights and freedoms of the “least” of us. That was the original plan, and I think it’s still a good plan. Celebrate your religion in your own way, it is between you and your God. We are not a Christian nation, we are a nation where the majority of citizens are Christian (by choice). There is a difference.
*Sharia Law Definition: Muslim or Islamic law, both civil and criminal justice as well as regulating individual conduct both personal and moral. Related Terms: Muslim Law, Muslim, Islamic Law. The custom-based body of law based on the Koran and the religion of Islam [replace the Koran with the Bible, and replace Islam with Christianity and you have Christian Sharia-style law]. Brackets are mine. SFD
Stephen F. Dennstedt
Photographer, Writer and World Traveller