The Instigator
Pro (for)
5 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

America is not a Christian nation

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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/26/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,203 times Debate No: 59566
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (1)




I will argue that America has never been a Christian nation and that the Bible states that Israel is nationally God's chosen people.


I accept this debate. I will be arguing that the United States of America was established as a Christian nation.
Definition of Christian Nation:
1. A nation that is founded on the principles and values of Christianity.
2. A nation where the majority of the population consists of Christians.

I would prefer not to argue that the United States of America is still a Christian Nation, as this obviously is not true today.
Debate Round No. 1


I will state that there is no proof America has ever been established as a Christian nation. I will give evidence to support the contrary.

The first amendment states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof " were added to the Constitution, further ensuring a fully secular state with a guarantee of religious freedom for all." This is meant to be taken literally and that includes Christianity. This is why we have the separation of church and state. Surely if America is a Christian nation, it wouldn't allow this to happen.

With that in mind, we can safely say that America is a melting pot of many religions, not just one.


"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Ah yes. The weapon of choice for those who deny that America was never a Christian nation. This is perhaps the most common argument used against American Exceptionalism.
First of all, allow me to say that this verse was meant to prevent a Theocracy. In a Theocracy, only one religion is tolerated and/or people of one religion have special status and/or rights. I will admit that this is not the case in early America.
HOWEVER, America was founded on Christian principles and America's earliest population had a Christian majority.
Let's take the Founding Fathers and their religion. Despite the common misconception that the Founding Fathers were Atheists, Agnostics, and Deists, the large majority of them were members of mainstream Christian denominations.
Also, Christians consisted of the large majority of the population of early America (I'm fairly confident that this claim does not require proof).

Thank you and good luck in your next round.
Debate Round No. 2


According to the Treaty of Tripoli, article 11 says America was not founded as a Christian nation (1). It reads as follows:

"Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,"as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],"and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

It was thus not founded on Christian principles.




Ah, my opponent bases his entire argument on one argument from the Founding Fathers, the Treaty of Tripoli.
Well, let's take a look at the context in which this treaty was formulated. In the late 18th century, Muslim pirates from the "Barbary Coast" we're preying upon American ships. The American ships had experienced a measure of protection from pirates while they were part of England, which had a powerful navy. But when they gained their independence, the pirates realized that America was:
A. No longer under the protection of any nation
B. Without a Navy, or at least without a strong navy
So, the Barbary Pirates thought to themselves, these American infidels would make easy targets. So, they started attacking American ships in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.
Finally, the Americans had enough, and they built up a Navy. Then, they took the fight to the Barbary States and defeated them. The Treaty of Tripoli was the treaty that ended hostilities between the newly formed United States of America and the nations on the Barbary Coast.
So why did this treaty say, "America is not in any sense a Christian Nation"? Well, a likely interpretation is that they're telling the Barbary Pirates that America is not a Christian Theocracy like the many nations of Europe were at the time. Therefore, America would not start a religious war against the Barbary States nor any other Muslim nation. However, that treaty should not be interpreted as saying that America is not a nation founded on Christian principles and by a Christian majority. In this sense America was a "Christian Nation".

Now, let's look at some other quotations from the Founding Fathers.

I have stated my case, and I await my opponent's response.
Debate Round No. 3


First of all, this clearly proves that America wasn't founded on Christianity and in response to the link you gave, my sources say that Washington was tolerant of other religions (1).

America despite having Christians, also allows Hindus, Buddhists, and people of other religions to serve in office (2).

Thomas Jefferson writes to Thomas Cooper:

"For we know that the common law is that system of law which was introduced by the Saxons on their settlement in England, and altered from time to time by proper legislative authority from that time to the date of Magna Charta, which terminates the period of the common law. . . This settlement took place about the middle of the fifth century. But Christianity was not introduced till the seventh century; the conversion of the first christian king of the Heptarchy having taken place about the year 598, and that of the last about 686. Here then, was a space of two hundred years, during which the common law was in existence, and Christianity no part of it."

". . . if any one chooses to build a doctrine on any law of that period, supposed to have been lost, it is incumbent on him to prove it to have existed, and what were its contents. These were so far alterations of the common law, and became themselves a part of it. But none of these adopt Christianity as a part of the common law. If, therefore, from the settlement of the Saxons to the introduction of Christianity among them, that system of religion could not be a part of the common law, because they were not yet Christians, and if, having their laws from that period to the close of the common law, we are all able to find among them no such act of adoption, we may safely affirm (though contradicted by all the judges and writers on earth) that Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law."

With that in mind, America is not strictly a Christian nation.





Just because a nation has non-Christian groups in it doesn't mean it's not a Christian Nation. Christian principles were still practiced by the people and by the Government, and the majority of the population was Christian. Even today, most Americans claim to be Christian.

My opponent quoted Thomas Jefferson, who was one of the few Deist founding fathers, along with Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and presumably a few others. While this one guy cannot speak for an entire nation (which believes differently than he does, no less), I will address this anyway.
This quote seems to be basically saying this: "America was founded on the Common Law of the Anglo-Saxons. But they weren't even Christian when they set up the Common Law, so American Law is therefore not Christian."
Well, I beg to differ with Mr. Jefferson. American Law may have taken elements from the Common Law, but it wasn't based wholly on that. I mean, the Anglo-Saxons had a King. They didn't have a Republic. The Magna Carta didn't really give common citizens of England more rights; mostly it gave the English Nobility more power over the affairs of running the nation.
American Law is unique, and it was founded on Christianity.
For instance:

1. In Ancient Israel each tribe had a leader selected by the people. That leader had jurisdiction over his own tribe. But these leaders were under the control of a central figure, which consisted of whoever was judge of Israel at that time. Israel did not have a King until Israel took matters into their own hands.
Doesn't this sound a lot like a Federal Government?

2. Deuteronomy 17:15 warns Israel not to let a foreigner rule over them.
Today, only citizens born in the United States can run for president.

Here's some suggested reading that I recommend my opponent takes a look at.
With that, I finish arguments and end this debate.
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by LogicalLunatic 7 years ago
@Bladerunner: I beg to differ. I provided a set of quotations from the Founding Fathers which supported my stance. In Round 3.
Posted by LogicalLunatic 7 years ago
Ah yes, the good 'ole Treaty of Tripoli. It would've been disappointing if my opponent didn't bring that one up.
Posted by Sfaulkner 7 years ago
The founding fathers tried to stress that we were a free nation and not a Christian one. That's why the first sentence of the first amendment is about separation if church and state.
Posted by LogicalLunatic 7 years ago
I thank my opponent for taking it easy on me, as I have three debates against tough opponents going on at once.
Posted by LogicalLunatic 7 years ago
Phew. I thought I'd have to write a lengthy argument providing a rebuttal to well thought up points.
Posted by Max.Wallace 7 years ago
As a nation, supposedly created in the image of christ, drones as our weapon of truth are hypocrisy to the extreme.
Posted by mrPrime 7 years ago
Actually, USA is still majority christian and probably will be for a very long time since Hispanics will eventually take over as the majority and they are primarily associated with Catholicism.
Posted by Truth_seeker 7 years ago
thanks for pointing that out, i will take the position that America isn't a Christian based nation
Posted by ShadowKingStudios 7 years ago
It's one thing to consider yourself a Christian-based nation than to consider yourself God's chosen nation. I've never read any American scholar or theologian professing America is God's chosen nation. Please make a clear distinction on what you're implying. I'd accept if the premise is more defined.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's arguments were based on what was said by the people actually setting up the nation. Con's attempts at rebuttal did not seem to stand against the plain expressions provided by Pro--who also gets sourcing for using compelling, first-hand accounts. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.

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