Kenneth C. Davis has an interesting piece arguing that the United States is not a Christian nation. I have to agree with Mr. Davis, especially since his article is a good example of why America should not be seen as the leading Christian nation in the world today. For starters, Mr. Davis himself seems confused as to what constitutes orthodox Christian doctrine. For example, Mr. Davis writes:
“No one can argue, as 'Christian Nation' proponents correctly state, that the Founding Fathers were not Christian, although some notably doubted Christ's divinity.”
I would think that doubting Christ’s divinity would, at the very least, make one’s commitment to Christianity questionable. But then Mr. Davis makes an even more egregious error by lumping Mormons in with Baptists as Christian “sects.” While I am definitely not a theologian, Mormon rejection of the Trinity is just one of the many areas where the Latter Day Saint movement deviates tremendously from orthodox Christian doctrine as passed down throughout the centuries. This confusion about what constitutes basic Christian doctrine is very common in the United States, where Mormons, Unitarians, and a host of other non-orthodox groups get lumped in with Catholics, Orthodox Christians and mainstream Protestants.
None of this is surprising given America’s history as a breeding ground for non-orthodox interpretations of Christian doctrine and the current lack of religious knowledge among even devout Americans reflects the sorry state of religious education in the country. While these issues may seem academic, they actually have important consequences for the country and the world. For example, it is certainly worth arguing that the belief that America is some kind of holy nation ordained by God to spread it ideals across the globe has helped to fuel American military intervention abroad. When combined with a general ignorance regarding the history of Christianity, you end up with the Iraq debacle and the devastation of the ancient Iraqi Christian community by forces let loose by our invasion. I won’t even get into the Christian Zionists and related End Times theologies, but I think we can see how these ideas can be problematic for America and the rest of the world.