Christian Nation

I’m watching “Hardball” on MSNBC, and Rachel Maddow just said Republican candidates had called the United States a “Christian Nation.” Chris Matthews called her on this, expressing skepticism that any candidate had used that exact phrase. Put on the spot, Rachel could not name a time, date, place in which a particular candidate had called the U.S. a “Christian nation.”

But I’m sitting here with all the Web at my fingertips, so I could look it up. Here’s one –

John McCain: “I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation.”

That’s a direct quote.

Even better — Linda Caillouet writes for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:

Government may have dropped the ball in modern American society, but religion dropped it first, Gov. Mike Huckabee told Southern Baptist pastors Sunday night.

“The reason we have so much government is because we have so much broken humanity,” he said. “And the reason we have so much broken humanity is because sin reigns in the hearts and lives of human beings instead of the Savior.” …

… Huckabee told the pastors gathered in the Salt Palace Convention Center that while the March 1, 1997, tornadoes which struck Arkansas were tragic, at least the devastation could be clearly seen from a helicopter. In contrast, he said, the catalysts for the nation’s recent school shootings — including the one March 24 near Jonesboro that left four students and a teacher dead and 10 others wounded — were harder to see but were driven by “the winds of spiritual change in a nation that has forgotten its God.”

I doubt there is any other nation on earth whose citizens get reminded of God with more regularity than this one.

“Government knows it does not have the answer, but it’s arrogant and acts as though it does,” Huckabee said. “Church does have the answer but will cowardly deny that it does and wonder when the world will be changed.”

The shootings were just one more wake-up call to the nation, he said.

“I fear we will turn and hit the snooze button one more time and lose this great republic of ours.”

Um, for whatever reason, the U.S. has enjoyed random mass violence since its inception. I can’t say that, on the whole, we are more given to random mass violence than we’ve ever been. But the Rev. Mr. Huckabee has a new book out called Kids Who Kill: Confronting our Culture of Violence. According to one review at,

Tumescent with quotes and references to support every idea propounded, the authors rely almost exclusively on conservative voices from William Bennett to Alan Keyes to Michael Medved. Few open-minded people could serious question the knowledge of these sources, but their pandemic citings and the under-representation of liberal mover and shakers (and there a few who advocate such common sense values) may turn off those who ideology blinds them to the sapience of conservatives.

I know you’re all going to rush out and buy the book. Back to the Reverend:

“I didn’t get into politics because I thought government had a better answer. I got into politics because I knew government didn’t have the real answers, that the real answers lie in accepting Jesus Christ into our lives.”

He compared his entry into politics to “getting inside the dragon’s belly,” adding, “There’s not one thing we can do in those marbled halls and domed capitols that can equal what’s done when Jesus touches the lives of a sinner.”

The most basic unit of government is not the city council, quorum court or state legislature, Huckabee said. “It is Mom and Dad raising kids and teaching them respect for authority, others and God.”

The nation has descended gradually into crisis, Huckabee said, and repairing the damage needs to be gradual, too. He said the solution is simple: faith in Christ.

Yes, we know how well that works.

Update: More Christian nationalism.

Update 2: Pastor Dan begins a series on theological questions to ask the candidates. I’ll get excited when there’s a candidate who can explicate the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta.