Richard John Neuhaus ponders the question of whether America is a Christian nation (in the latest National Review):
To which one might respond that a “sort of” Christian nation is all that might be expected in view of human sinfulness and the limitations of history...Like others, Heclo cites the prevalence of divorce and pornography, the trash of popular entertainment, and other factors as evidence that Americans are not seriously Christian, or not Christian at all. But morality is a dubious measure. In his classic 1970 work, The Unheavenly City, Edward Banfield notes that in early-18th-century Boston there were more brothels per capita than there probably are today, but nobody suggests that 18th-century Boston was not a Christian city. The pertinent fact is that Christianity majors in sin and forgiveness. A persistent problem in discussions of Christian America, both scholarly and popular, is the tendency to use “Christian” as both an honorific and a descriptive term. Except for those who make an idol of the nation and confuse America with the Church — and there are some who are prone to doing that — nobody contends that America deserves to be called a Christian nation.
There is truth in G. K. Chesterton’s observation that America is a nation with the soul of a church, and further truth in the observation that, in the “almost” of almost-chosen peoplehood, Americans are aware of failing the covenant by which the nation is constituted. Conservative critics frequently fail to appreciate that expressions of “anti-Americanism” can sometimes be better understood as Americans’ continuing the long tradition of the mourners’ bench of American revivalism. The late Jeane Kirkpatrick was right about the “blame-America-first crowd.” But it will not disappear; not only because some really do hate America, but because so many more believe America is called to be better. There is much to be said in favor of America’s accepting the fact that it is a normal nation, simply a nation among nations — but that is a very un-American idea.
Regarding my post from yesterday, an emailer writes:
... but this analysis seems like a bunch of bologna:I took that to mean that since the desire for God is built-in (by God) then if you don't believe in Him you'll believe other entities (like the U.S. government) are controlling every aspect of your life and destiny. Maybe that's why there are so many atheist-leftists conspiracists?"One of them surely relates to the primitiveSo, he's saying Europeans don't like us because of God? What's up with
part of the human psyche that, in order to
cope with our deepest fears, wants to believe
that everything in the world is governed by
a conscious and unitary force."
With the Imus controversy, all the actors played out the script so perfectly that this news is a fine denouement. The play's never o'er until the book deal is announced.