America has never been a single thread, but rather a cord of both worldliness and holiness. These strands were woven so tightly for so long that it became difficult, certainly for Christians, to see them as twain, but twain they have always been, and twain they are now parted.
The 350-year marriage of Protestant Christian theology and American popular culture is over. Christianity, it may be sadly said, is no longer the preeminent social influence in American life. We Christians who dared to presume that America was ever all and only ours are, apart from some God-ordained awakening, unlikely to “get our country back.” We will live and work henceforth, as do most other Christians around the world, amidst a public square hostile to our beliefs.
Christian citizens of the United States of America nevertheless still have great reasons this day to lift thanksgiving to God for the blessings of liberty and to celebrate heartily the 239th anniversary of the nation’s declaration of its God-given rights and independence from tyranny.
In Gold We Trust Too
The mobilization of so-called “values voters” in U.S. elections since 1980 spawned a whole genre of “City on a Hill” histories portraying the American founding as the creation of a Christian nation, by Christians, for Christians. The influence of Christian theology, and more specifically Protestant Reformed theology, on the founding generation is inarguable, and the favor that God has shown this society thusly influenced seems historically evident. Yet, such favor hasn’t flowed to America as a Christian nation; rather, because it has been and remains a nation occupied by so many Christians.