We won't spam, rent, sell, or share
your information in any way.
With a title like The Myth of a Christian Nation, one would think that the author would have spent more time on the nuances of how the phrase “Christian Nation” is used by people like John Eidsmoe, David Barton, and other scholars in the field. If you’re going to critique a concept, it’s necessary to deal with those who make the claim and define the phrase, which I do in America’s Christian History. Gregory A. Boyd does not do this. He defines “Christian Nation” to mean “‘Christ-like,’ and there never was a time when America as a nation has acted Christlike” (107). With such a narrow definition, then Israel could not be described as God’s chosen people because they didn’t always act like it. Kirk Fordice, the former governor of Mississippi, said on a CNN interview, “The media always refer to the Jewish state of Israel. They talk about the Muslim country of Saudi Arabia, of Iran, or Iraq. We all talk about the Hindu nation of India. America is not a nothing country. It’s a Christian Country.” To be accurate, Boyd should have titled his book The Myth of a Christ-Like Nation, but even with this title he would not be telling the whole story.
Like so many who attempt to deal with this subject, Boyd is very selective in whom he quotes to support his claim. Instead of arguing the case himself, he appeals to Richard T. Hughes’ Myths America Lives By. Boyd should have made the argument himself using historical sources. Then there is his obligatory appeal to the 1797 Treaty with Tripoli which states that “the government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion” (199, n. 13). Boyd does not explain the context of the phrase or why the 1805 treaty does not include it. Why doesn’t he mention other treaties that are explicitly Christian?
Let’s look at just two contrary opinions. There are many more. The first is the French sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville and his comments found in Democracy in America:
“Each sect [in the United States] adores the Deity in its own peculiar manner, but all sects preach the same moral law in the name of God . . . . Moreover, all the sects of the United States are comprised within the great unity of Christianity, and Christian morality is everywhere the same. It may fairly be believed that a certain number of Americans pursue a peculiar form of worship from habit more than from conviction. In the United States the sovereign authority is religious, and consequently hypocrisy must be common; but there is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America.
David J. Brewer, who served on the Supreme Court from 1889 through 1910, made the following observations in his 1905 book The United States: A Christian Nation :
Boyd makes some good points in his book, but his definitions are anachronistic and analysis of the nature of God’s kingdom is naïve and narrow. Not all Christians can be as easily categorized as Boyd describes them. Subsequent articles will expand on these observations.
 Gary DeMar, America’s Christian History, rev. ed. (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2005), chap. 1
 “Mississippi Governor Criticized for `Christian Nation’ Remark,” Dallas/Fort Worth Heritage (January 1993), 14. Quoted in John W. Whitehead, Religious Apartheid: The Separation of Religion from American Public Life (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1994), 149.
 See Gary DeMar, “America’s 200-Year War with Terror”: americanvision.org/articlearchive/11-12-04.asp. Also see DeMar, America’s Christian History, chap. 8.
 Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 2 vols. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1945), 1:303.
 David J. Brewer, The United States: A Christian Nation (Philadelphia, PA: The John C. Winston Company, 1905). Reprinted by American Vision, 1996.