"Bobby Winter" raises some interesting points to this post:
Careful Buzz - you are defining Christianity on works - certainly James wisely tells us that our works represent or even 'prove' our faith - but measuring a person's faith or a nation's faith on works is either impractical or unfair or both
My concern is that someone reading this may consider their self and think "I've done some pretty bad things since I became a Christian - maybe I'm not really a Christian after all" - Christian persons may find they have done something awful since becoming a believer - but there is nothing they could do that is too bad for Jesus to forgive - that's the great thing about God and his grace
If you are going to look at the bad things a nation has done and say that disqualifies it from being a 'Christian' nation, then what about all the good it has done - how do you score that - how many good things negate or offset a bad thing - yeah, neither of us knows or could calculate it if we had to
To get to the heart of the question, "What makes a nation a Christian nation?" - I would say when ALL the citizens have publicly professed that Jesus is their Savior and Lord - I don't know if that has ever happened in the history of the world - I'm not aware of it if it has - I don't imagine it did in 1776 or any other time in North America - so by my definition, no, the US is not a Christian nation and never has been
What makes a graphic novel a Christian graphic novel? Does that mean that everyone involved in the product development and delivery is a believer in Jesus Christ? I doubt it - otherwise there would be no Christian graphic novels or they would cost an exorbitant amount due to selective personnel issues in printing and transportation (just to name a couple of areas) - I would imagine that when someone refers to a graphic novel as being 'Christian' it is because they recognize that its goal or intent is to point non-believers to Jesus and strengthen the relationships believers already have with their Savior - maybe that is what some folks have meant when they refer to the US as being a Christian nation - I don't know
I suspect that when folks talk about the US like that, they are believers talking to other believers (sort of like preaching to the choir) - if I had to choose between the two I would pick a nation of Christians over a Christian nation
Christian = Christ-like (literally "little Christ"; orig. a derogatory term)
Christ taught we are to love God with all our heart, strength, and mind AND we were to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
In short: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" or paraphrased even more simply: "Treat others the way you want to be treated"
- Do Christians desire to be slaves?
- Do Christians desire to be driven from their homes?
- Do Christians desire 2nd class citizenship status (at best) or relegated to the level of sub-human (worst)?
- Do Christians desire to have their most cherished beliefs & cultural markers mocked & denigrated?
Any nation which as a matter of public policy does any of the above by definition is not a Christian nation.
One may argue it was a Christian nation at some point in the past, or that it may yet become a Christian nation, but while such policies are in effect, no, not Christian.
Now, you raise a very good point re faith & grace as opposed to works; I bow to your better expression of my basic idea. Yes, all of us have sinned (& continue to sin) and come short of the glory of God; there is a difference between a personal failure and establishing a public policy that one then claims has the approval of God (or even worse, directed from God).
Consider it in terms of AA: Can a group call itself part of AA if it indulges & requires participation in regular drunken brawls? Can a person call himself an AA member even if he falls off the wagon occasionally?
I (& I think AA) would say yes to the latter, no to the former.