Secularism: One of America's Great Strengths?

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April 10, 2009|1:54 pm

Though President Obama may have irked some Americans when he told the nation of Turkey this week that the United States is not a Christian nation, he might have helped believers in Muslim-dominated areas by saying so.

Christians overseas, particularly in the Middle East, are often persecuted under the false pretense that the appearingly immoral and indulgent West is a reflection of Christendom.

Now, should anti-Christian Muslims take to heart what Obama said recently, perhaps they’ll see the immoral and indulgent West as a reflection of secularism or even liberalism.

“One of the great strengths of the United States is although, as I mentioned, we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation,” said Obama when he was in Turkey this week.

“We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values,” he asserted.

At first glance, the vast majority of Americans would likely agree with Obama's statement. After all, we can no more say this nation is a Christian nation than can we call Americans a Christian people or our government a Christian government.

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It's simply not, right?

Upon closer review, however, one might be inclined to question why Obama would refer to our increasingly secular society as a great strength (and not simply a fact) and furthermore whether he acknowledges what the source of the ideals and set of values that raised this nation from one of youngest in the world to one of the most powerful and influential.

As Frank Donatelli, the former deputy chairman of the Republican National Convention, recently noted, it's the Judeo-Christian values and traditions that shaped America as a country.

"It's where we get our respect for the individual, it's where we get our respect for freedom of religion, and everyone is free to practice their own religion,” he said this week on CNN's "Situation Room."

"A better answer [than Obama's] would have been to say we are a nation that considers ourselves as a product of the Judeo-Christian tradition because that happens to be answer," he added.

Furthermore, contrary Obama's suggestion that secularism is one of America's great strengths, one would more likely be convinced that the nation has become more troubled than strengthened as the God-given values that helped made this nation great have been one-by-one replaced with self-based values.

As Newsweek magazine noted this week in its cover story, “The Decline and Fall of Christian America,” the percentage of self-identified Christians has reportedly fallen 10 points in the past two decades and the number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation has nearly doubled since 1990, rising from 8 to 15 percent.

That, perhaps, is why many are looking to the government for a bailout and not to the One who really bails us out.

And judging from the entertainment industry, arguably one of the most influential in society, the values that this nation grew up following have been debased. Notably, however, 59 percent of Americans do believe that “the people who run the TV networks and the major movie studios do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans," according to a survey released last year by the Anti-Defamation League.

But we all know the influence that media has over society and the people. And with sex and violence in the entertainment industry becoming more prevalent and more graphic, more families have been torn apart and more people desensitized.

Honestly, it's not so hard to understand why the Muslim world views American culture as a threat to their own. There are certainly cancers in the culture that even threaten Christians in America.

So is one of America’s great strengths really its increasingly secular or liberal nature?

For the sake of the nation and its people, let’s hope believers in the U.S. will rise up soon so we’ll not get the chance to experience how wrong that suggestion is.

 

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