Defining what makes ‘Christian Nation’ or a country ‘Christian’ is typically based on the interpretation and the statistical facts used. And the interpretation and data used is of the utmost significance in discovering the truth of the matter. For example, many nations (especially where Catholicism was the dominant denomination for centuries) will report that the vast majority of its citizens are Christian; when in fact only a small percentage attend Church on a monthly basis and less than a majority believe in God. And considerably less of those populations believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died and was resurrected and who shall soon return to earth immediately after the Tribulation (Matt. 24:29-) and judge the world (2Tim.4:1) – yet, these are “elementary principles of the doctrines of Christ (Heb. 6:1-2).”
The last two sections of this article list expressed Christian intent in many nations (countries) constitutions (though often only “God” is stated, it is implied that is God Almighty, the Father, who sent our Lord Jesus Christ, His only Son) Christianity in Constitutions and what makes a truly Christian Nation.
Interpretations of the Definition
Loose Interpretation: the loosest accepted use of ‘Christian Nation’ is where a country is considered such when the reported data shows the majority (50.1%) of its population being cited as ‘Christians.’
This data could come from censuses, records from denominations or birth certificates. Most countries now exclude religious questions from their government censuses and most denomination records and birth certificates provide outdated and inaccurate information. Therefore, in-depth studies, and current surveys and polls by reputable organizations such as the Pew Research Center, WIN/Gallup International, Ipsos or Eurobarometer provide a much more accurate display of the truth.
Strict Interpretation: the strict interpretations of what defines or makes a nation Christian look not only at the percentage of cited Christians in a country but investigates the practices and beliefs of that nation’s people. It gathers data and facts beyond censuses or polls which only ask, what is your religion? It uses church attendance records and data; examines belief in God; and seeks to find the population’s belief on fundamental doctrines such as the existence of Heaven and Hell, the Resurrection and Judgment of the dead; and of course concerning Jesus Christ – His death, resurrection, Lordship and status as the Son of God and Savior of the world.
State or Constitutional Interpretation: a Christian State is on its face a country that states in its Constitution, state constitutions and laws a form of Christianity as its official religion. In the ancient past both the Roman Empire and Byzantine Empire declared by law that they were are some point Christian states.
The Kingdom of Armenia declared itself a Christian state in 301; and in 380, the Edict of Thessalonica made Nicene Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire. They followed the Nicene Creed from the Council of Nicaea (325) which was called by Emperor Constantine who in 313 protected Christians by the Edict of Milan. Likewise, under Emperor Justinian (527-565) the Byzantine Emperor was a Christian state. Yet, just because a country, state or denomination states or claims they are Christian, does not necessary make it so.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brewer on ‘Christian Nation’
In 1892, United States Supreme Court Justice David Brewer, in the case on Church of the Holy Trinity vs. United States (143 U.S. 457), explained what a Christian Nation was as defined by the Highest Court at that time.
Foundations: In ‘the opinion of the court,’ Brewer began by showing that America was founded to be a Christian Nation. In part he offered these facts: “…The commission of Christopher Columbus… (where) Ferdinand and Isabella, by the grace of God, King and Queen of Castile” sent him “by God’s assistance.” And then that “The first colonial grant, made to Sir Walter Raleigh in 1584, was from ‘Elizabeth, by the grace of God, of England, France and Ireland, Queen, defender of the faith,’ etc., and the grant authorizing him to enact statutes of the government of the proposed colony provided that ‘they be not against the true Christian faith now professed in the Church of England.’ The first charter of Virginia, granted by King James I in 1606… ‘We… by the Providence of Almighty God… in propagating of Christian Religion to such people, as yet live in darkness and miserable ignorance of the true knowledge and worship of God…’ The Mayflower, 1620… ‘undertaken for the Glory of God, and the Advancement of the Christian Faith… plant the first Colony in the northern parts of Virginia…’
Brewer noted ‘the same is true of the various charters granted to the other colonies… the Christian religion declared to be one of the purposes of the grant…’ He said, “If we examine the constitutions of the various states, we find in them a constant recognition of religious obligations. Every Constitution of every one of the forty-four states contains language which, either directly or by clear implication, recognizes a profound reverence for religion, and an assumption that its influence in all human affairs is essential to the wellbeing of the community…”
And Brewer cited the specific language in several state constitutions, and how they thanked and acknowledged ‘Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty’ which he granted citizens of the United States. And more so, certain states went in detail, such as ‘the Constitution of Massachusetts, 1780’ stating ‘…the duty of all men in society publicly… to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the Universe…’ and they even provided ‘maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion and morality…’ Other states, such ‘by Article 22 of the Constitution of Delaware (1776), required all officers… to …declare: ‘I… profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost… and I do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration’…”
Activities and proofs: After offering the proofs of our Christian foundation by commissions, expeditions, hope, purpose and laws; Brewer then states, “…If we pass beyond these matters to a view of American life, as expressed by its laws, its business, its customs, and its society, we find every where a clear recognition of the same truth. Among other matters, note the following: the form of oath universally prevailing, concluding with an appeal to the Almighty; the custom of opening sessions of all deliberative bodies and most conventions with prayer; the prefatory words of all wills, “In the name of God, amen;” the laws respecting the observance of the Sabbath, with the general cessation of all secular business, and the closing of courts, legislatures, and other similar public assemblies on that day; the churches and church organizations which abound in every city, town, and hamlet; the multitude of charitable organizations existing every where under Christian auspices; the gigantic missionary associations, with general support, and aiming to establish Christian missions in every quarter of the globe. These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation…”
America moving away from being a Christian Nation
So, Justice Brewer showed that America was founded to be a Christian Nation and that during that time just before 1900 was in fact a Christian Nation by laws and actions. And this was true and continued to be so by the U.S. Census, Church attendances and baptism records, and many other proofs through World War I and World War II. However, due to many changes – beyond the scope of this article – in cultures, education, generations and laws; the United Stated began to move away from being a Christian Nation.
For over 180 years from its independence in 1776 the United States had taught the Christian religion and history in its public schools and supported prayer and bible reading in public schools according the freedoms and traditions under the Constitution. And all during this time the arguments and proper position of separation of Church and State was understood – that being that the United States was a Christian Nation and founded so – however, no one denomination – as in England, France, Denmark, Greece and other Christian Nations – would operate, explicitly or implicitly, as the state religion.
So for centuries, America had preserved the Christian religion in its laws and actions. Its colonies, states and presidents had stated the need for “self-government… according to the commandments of God (James Madison).” Nevertheless, in time by ‘ignorance and neglect,’ by the teaching in universities – many such as Harvard, once being founded by Christians on and for Christian principles – the people, politicians and court justices began to separate the population from Christianity.
And thus as was with Israel, “the leaders caused the people to err (Isa. 9:16).’ In 1879, the courts in Reynolds v. U.S. supported ‘the free exercise of religion;’ but by 1948, in McCollum v. Board of Education, they began the suppression of ‘freedom of religion’ in public; first with ‘religious instruction’ being unconstitutional; but other speech in ‘motion pictures’ could not be censored (1952), as the Supreme Court further censored Christian ‘prayer (Engel v. Vitale 1962)’ and ‘Bible reading (Abington School District v. Schempp 1963).’ No longer was swearing to God and ‘belief in the existence of God’ required for public office (Torcaso v. Watkins 1961).’ However, States have no rights to ban evolution (Epperson v. Arkansas 1968); only ‘creation science (Edwards v. Aquillard 1987) and ‘the Ten Commandments (Stone v. Graham 1980),’ and anything close to a religious experience, even ‘a pure moment of silence (Wallace v. Jaffree 1985).’
Thus, with the teaching in universities against the Bible, God and Jesus Christ; and with the quenching of the spirit in the laws declaring so much Christianity unconstitutional in public; it was natural to see that non-religious and agnostic significantly increase in America as the professing Christians and their children and grandchildren fell away from the religion. To where in 1972 only about 6% of Americans declared themselves ‘non-religious,’ ‘atheist’ or ‘agnostic;’ and by 2017 over 40% of ‘millennials’ born after 1981 are non-religious, atheist, agnostic, and non-Christian; and less than a third of Americans attend Church on a regular basis. And more over, in a 2016 Gallup poll, 27% of adult respondents did not believe in the devil and in a 2016 Rasmussen Report 23% of American adults did not believe Jesus Christ was the Son of God. However, in another generation, America will continue to follow Europe into becoming more non-religious and thus, become non-Christian.
Justice William Rehnquist’s Dissent in Wallace v. Jaffree (1985)
In part Justice Rehnquist stated, “Thirty-eight years ago this Court, in Everson v. Board of Education, …1947, summarized its exegesis of Establishment Clause doctrine thus:
It is impossible to build sound constitutional doctrine upon a mistaken understanding of constitutional history, but unfortunately the Establishment Clause has been expressly freighted with Jefferson’s misleading metaphor for nearly 40 years. Thomas Jefferson was of course in France at the time the constitutional Amendments known as the Bill of Rights were passed by Congress and ratified by the States. His letter to the Danbury Baptist Association was a short note of courtesy, written 14 years after the Amendments were passed by Congress. He would seem to any detached observer as a less than ideal source of contemporary history as to the meaning of the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment.
Jefferson’s fellow Virginian, James Madison, with whom he was joined in the battle for the enactment of the Virginia Statute of Religious Liberty of 1786, did play as large a part as anyone in the drafting of the Bill of Rights. He had two advantages over Jefferson in this regard: he was present in the United States, and he was a leading Member of the First Congress. But when we turn to the record of the proceedings in the First Congress leading up to the adoption of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, including Madison’s significant contributions thereto, we see a far different picture of its purpose than the highly simplified “wall of separation between church and State.”
‘…of the 11 Colonies which ratified the Constitution by early 1789, 5 proposed one or another amendments guaranteeing individual liberty. Three – New Hampshire, New York, and Virginia – included in one form or another declaration of religious freedom. …Rhode Island and North Carolina flatly refused to ratify the Constitution in the absence of amendments in the nature of a Bill of Rights …Virginia and North Carolina proposed identical guarantees of religious freedom: “All men have an equal, natural and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience, and . . . no particular religious sect or society ought to be favored or established, by law, in preference to others.”
Madison proposed for what ultimately became the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment was this: “The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.”
‘…the First Amendment Establishment Clause should be read no more broadly than to prevent the establishment of a national religion or the governmental preference of one religious sect over another.
The actions of the First Congress, which reenacted the Northwest Ordinance for the governance of the Northwest Territory in 1789, confirm the view that Congress did not mean that the Government should be neutral between religion and irreligion. The House of Representatives took up the Northwest Ordinance on the same day as Madison introduced his proposed amendments which became the Bill of Rights… The Northwest Ordinance… provided that “religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. …Land grants for schools in the Northwest Territory were not limited to public schools. It was not until 1845 that Congress limited land grants in the new States and Territories to nonsectarian schools…
On the day after the House of Representatives voted to adopt the form of the First Amendment Religion Clauses which was ultimately proposed and ratified, Representative Elias Boudinot proposed a resolution asking President George Washington to issue a Thanksgiving Day Proclamation. Boudinot said he “could not think of letting the session pass over without offering an opportunity to all the citizens of the United States of joining with one voice, in returning to Almighty God their sincere thanks for the many blessings he had poured down upon them.” …Representative Sherman supported the resolution “not only as a laudable one in itself, but as warranted by a number of precedents in Holy Writ: for instance, the solemn thanksgivings and rejoicings which took place in the time of Solomon, after the building of the temple, was a case in point. This example, he thought, worthy of Christian imitation on the present occasion. . . .”
Boudinot’s resolution was carried in the affirmative on September 25, 1789. Boudinot and Sherman, who favored the Thanksgiving Proclamation, voted in favor of the adoption of the proposed amendments to the Constitution, including the Religion Clauses…
Within two weeks …George Washington responded:
“Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed… And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations; and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.”
Joseph Story, a Member of this Court from 1811 to 1845, and during much of that time a professor at the Harvard Law School, published by far the most comprehensive treatise on the United States Constitution that had then appeared. Volume 2 of Story’s Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States 630-632 (5th ed. 1891) discussed the meaning of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment this way:
Many of our other Establishment Clause cases have been decided by bare 5-4 majorities.
Note: In providing modern ‘tolerance’ for all, the United Nations, European Union, and most nations (including the U.K. & U.S.), have “counted the blood of (Jesus Christ and) the covenant… (as) common and insulted the Spirit of grace (Heb. 10:29).” In other words, by saying all religions of equally good and protected, the gospel of Christ is only one equal path to follow; and thus, the laws of the land denied the single Lordship of Jesus Christ.
|Examples of Christianity in Constitutions and Acts – at some point in their country’s existence|
Christianity and Religious History are important for background and trends, but does not guarantee the current status.
England (Great Britain and in part Denmark): the U.K. does not have a codified constitution.
Magna Carta of 1215: “John, by the grace of God… to his archbishops… barons… sheriffs… and loyal subjects… Know that before God, for the health of our soul and those of our ancestors and heirs, to the honor of God, the exaltation of the holy Church, and the better ordering of our kingdom, at the advice of our… archbishop of Canterbury… and cardinal of the holy Roman Church… and (names many earls, etc.): First, that we have granted to God… that the English Church shall be free… all free men of our kingdom we …grant …liberties… justice…”
In 1656, ‘by the authority of Parliament,’ the Westminster Confession of Faith of the Church of England (Anglican) was completed showing the inspired books of the Bible, and although the Apocrypha was in an appendix of the original King James Bible (1611), the Westminster Assembly states they are ‘not of divine inspiration… no part of the canon of the Scripture.’ The Confess teaches doctrines of the Church in 33 chapters and quotes scripture teaching that “the Lord Jesus, (God’s) only begotten Son… Mediator between God and man, the Prophet, Priest and King, the Head and Savior of His Church… and Judge of the World.” It speaks of ‘only two sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the gospel… baptism and the Supper of the Lord…”
In 1662, Parliament and the Church of England authorized and published the Book of Common Prayer. It was amended from the 1549 version and included many services performed by the Church, from Prayer, Communion, Baptism, Marriage and Funeral services.
In ‘the year of our Lord’ 1689, the English Bill of Rights and the Toleration Act were passed allowing other Protestants outside the Church of England to practice in public. It did not equally extend to Catholics. The Bill of Rights ratified the two Houses of Parliament and Crown succession; but continued to speak of their ‘Protestant kingdom’ so much to say that if a king, queen, prince of the kingdom ‘shall profess the popish religion or shall marry a papist (Catholic) that they ‘shall be incapable to inherit, possess or enjoy the crown and government…’
The ‘Security of the Succession… Act of Settlement, 1701’ for heirs to the Crown and their ‘Protestants’ and certain others took an oath including, “I do make this Recognition… and Promise willingly and truly upon the true Faith of a Christian so help me God.” In 1534, King Henry VIII declared himself to be the head of the Church of England; and denied the Catholic Church, pope and its bishops any power in England without his authority. The First Act of Supremacy (1534) passed by Parliament, granted King Henry VIII and subsequent monarchs Royal Supremacy, declaring the king “the only supreme head on Earth of the Church of England.”
In 1998, the Human Rights Act was passed in Parliament (U.K.) in agreement to the European Convention on Human Rights (EU); which in Article 9 protects “the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion,” including ‘the right to have no religion (atheist or agnostic)’ or practice any religion, Protestant, Catholic, non-Christian.
Constitution of 1994: “We, the representatives of the people of the Argentine Nation …guarantee justice and …secure the blessings of liberty… invoking the protection of God…”
Chapter 1; Section 2: “The Federal Government supports the Roman Catholic Apostolic religion.” Section 14: “All the inhabitants of the Nation are entitled to …profess freely their religion; to teach and to learn.”
Constitution of 1967: Article 3: “The state recognizes and supports the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman religion. It guarantees the public exercise of all other worship. Relations with the Catholic Church will be governed by concordats… between the Bolivian State and the Holy See.”
Constitution of 2009: “In ancient times… we populated this sacred Mother Earth with different faces… and cultures… We, the Bolivian people… construct a new State in memory of our martyrs. A State based on respect and equality… (Article 4) The State respects and guarantees freedom of religion and spiritual beliefs…”
Constitution of Brazil 1988 (rev. 2015): “We the representatives of the Brazilian People… promulgate, under the protection of God, the following CONSTITUTION… Article 5 … freedom of conscience and belief is inviolable, assuring free exercise of religious beliefs and guaranteeing, as set forth in law, protection of places of worship and their rites; providing religious assistance at civilian and military establishments for collective confinement is assured, as provided by law; no one shall be deprived of any rights because of religious beliefs… Article 7… a workday of six hours for work performed in continuous shifts, unless otherwise established by collective bargaining; paid weekly rest, preferably on Sundays…”
About 865, Christianity was adopted as the state religion under King Knyaz Boris-Mikhall (Michael) or Boris I (now considered a saint), first ruler of the Bulgarian Empire.
Constitution of 1991; article 6: “All citizens shall be equal… There shall be no restriction of rights on the grounds of… religion.” Article 13: “The practicing of any religion shall be unrestricted. Religious institutions shall be separate from the State. Eastern Orthodox Christianity shall be considered the traditional religion in the Republic of Bulgaria.”
Constitution of 1949; Article 75 – “The Roman Catholic and Apostolic Religion is the religion of the State, which contributes to its maintenance, without preventing the free exercise in the Republic of other beliefs that do not oppose themselves to the universal morality or good customs.”
Constitution of 1953: “The Evangelical Lutheran Church shall be the Established Church of Denmark, as such, it shall be supported by the State… The King shall be a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church… (Part VII) The citizens shall be entitled to form congregations for the worship of God in a manner consistent with their convictions, provided that nothing at variance with good morals… shall be taught or done…”
Approximately in 965, King Harald Bluetooth declared that Danes to be Christians. In 1536, during the Protestant Reformation, the Church of Denmark separated from the Roman Catholic Church. The 1848 Constitution of Denmark also listed the Evangelical Lutheran as ‘the Danish people’s church.’
Dominican Republic: (has had about 38 constitutions; more than any other nation)
The Constitution states that their ‘national motto’ is “God, Country and Liberty.” The 2015 Constitution guarantees “All people… rights… without discrimination (to)… religions.” The 2015, as did the 2010, Preamble does stated, “We… invoking the name of God…” Still in 2015, they required marriage to be between “a man and a woman.” Its first Constitution in 1844 was framed by five member; three of which were Catholic priests.
Constitution of 1983: “We… the Salvadorian people… putting our trust in God… proclaim… (this) Constitution. …El Salvador recognizes …every human being since the moment of conception… All persons are equal… no restrictions shall be established …based on religion. (Art. 25) The free exercise of all religions, without other restrictions than those required by the moral and the public order, is guaranteed… (Art. 26) The juridical personality of the Catholic Church is recognized. The other churches may obtain recognition of their personality in conformity with the law.”
Christmas Day 800, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne, the King of the Franks, as Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and protector of the Catholic Church. Then for centuries the French Rulers and Catholic bishops and Popes exercised great control over the people of France. During the 15th century the Hundred Years’ War was fought over English and French control of the region. Joan of Arc was instrumental in saving French nationality and the Catholic presence. Early 16th century the Reformation came and many were persecuted for their Christian worship outside of the Catholic Church. In 1598, King Henry IV granted significant religious freedom to Protestant Christians (Huguenots, Calvinists) by the Edict of Nantes. In 1685 King Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes which led to more persecution of the Reformed Church in France and forced Protestants into exile and religious migration primarily to England and North American. In 1789, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen under Article X stated, “No one may be disturbed for his opinions, even religious ones, provided that their manifestation does not trouble the public order…” In 1791, the Constituent Assembly rejected a bill to declare the Catholic religion to be the State religion. Napoleon, with the Concordat of 1801, in accord with Pope Pius VII, declared “Catholicism was the religion of the great majority of the French…” and that the Papacy had the right to depose bishops; yet, the Catholic Church gave up rights and claims to previously confiscated lands.
In 1905, the French Chamber of Deputies of their Third Republic passed the Separation of the Churches and State law granting in Article 1 the “freedom of conscience” and “the free exercise of religion… in the interest of public order.” Article 6, “loans made to religious organizations” previously supported by the State must be repaid.
Constitution of 1958 with 2008 Amendments: Article 1, “France shall be an indivisible, secular, democratic and social Republic… It shall respect all beliefs…” The Constitution restates the 1789 Declaration of Rights and its Article X concerning “religious” rights; but now declares no allegiance to the Catholic Church or Christian religion.
Over 2/3rds of France’s population are now atheists or nonreligious.
Constitution of 1991 (rev. 2013): “We, the citizens of Georgia… before God… Georgia is an independent… country… Article 9, The State shall declare absolute freedom of belief and religion. At the same time, the State shall recognize the role of the Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Georgia in the history… and its independence from the State…”
Constitution of Greece (Rev. 2001): Part One, Article 3: “The prevailing religion in Greece is that of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ. The Orthodox Church of Greece, acknowledging our Lord Jesus Christ as its head, is inseparably united in doctrine with the Great Church of Christ in Constantinople and with every other Church of Christ of the same doctrine, observing unwaveringly, as they do, the holy apostolic and synodal canons and sacred traditions. It is autocephalous and is administered by the Holy Synod of serving Bishops and the Permanent Holy Synod originating thereof and assembled as specified by the Statutory Charter of the Church in compliance with the provisions of the Patriarchal Tome of June 29, 1850 and the Synodal Act of …1928. The ecclesiastical regime existing in certain districts of the State shall not be deemed contrary to the provisions of the preceding paragraph. The text of the Holy Scripture shall be maintained unaltered. Official translation of the 18 text into any other form of language, without prior sanction by the Autocephalous Church of Greece and the Great Church of Christ in Constantinople, is prohibited.”
Article 5: “All persons… shall enjoy full protection of their life… irrespective of …religious or political beliefs…” Art. 13. “Freedom of religious conscience… all known religions shall be free and their rites of worship shall be performed unhindered… The practice of rites of worship is not allowed to offend public order or the good usages. Proselytism is prohibited…”
About Christmas day 1000 AD, the Pope Sylvester II (Roman Catholic) recognized Grand Prince Stephen I as the first Christian king of Hungary. King Stephen established six bishoprics, appointed an archbishop and funded 3 Benedictine monasteries. Stephen enacted laws supporting Christian customs.
Constitution of Hungary 2011: “We, the members of the Hungarian Nation… proud that our king Saint Stephen built the Hungarian State on solid ground and made our country a part of Christian Europe 1,000 years ago… we recognize the role of Christianity in preserving nationhood. We value the various religious traditions of our country… we do not recoginize the communist constitution of 1949, since it was the basis for tyrannical rule… We hold that after the decades of the twentieth (20th) century which led to a state of moral decay, we have an abiding need for spiritual and intellectual renewal… Article II …Every human being shall have the right to life… embryonic and fetal life shall be subject to protection from the moment of conception.” Article VII …Every person shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion… the freedom to choose or change religion… profess or teach his or her religion…. The State and Churches shall be separate… The State shall cooperate with the Churches for community goals. The detailed rules for Churches shall be regulated by a cardinal Act… (which are legislated by Parliament)” In 2013 an amendment reinsured preference given to traditional family relationships; based on marriage between a man and woman; and the 2011 Constitution prohibits same-sex marriage.
Constitution of 1944 (amendments 2013) “Article 62; The Evangelical Lutheran Church shall be the State Church in Iceland and, as such, it shall be supported and protected by the State.” Article 63; all persons have the right to form religious associations and to practice their religion in conformity with their individual convictions. Nothing may however be preached or practiced which is prejudicial to good morals or public order. Article 64; everyone shall be free to remain outside religious associations. No one shall be obliged to pay any personal dues to any religious association of which he is not a member. A person who is not a member of any religious association shall pay to the University of Iceland the dues that he would have had to pay to such an association, if he had been a member.”
Article 44.1 of the 1937 Constitution acknowledged the ‘special position’ of the Catholic Church in Ireland; this was removed in 1973. However, this did little to change the strong influence the Church had acquired in various realms of the state. Ireland is also distinctive, possibly unique, in modern times in that it has had two established churches: the (protestant) Church of Ireland (which in 1800 was united with the Church of England, and remained in that status until 1871, followed by the Roman Catholic Church 1937-1973. Disestablishment of the Church of Ireland was done by the Irish Church Act of 1869.
Constitution of 1937 (rev. 2015): “In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred, We, the people of Éire, Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial, gratefully remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain the rightful independence of our Nation… adopt this Constitution… Article 8; Irish …is the first official language. The English language is… second… Article 40; The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother… Laws regulating the manner in which the right of forming associations and unions and the right of free assembly may be exercised shall contain no political, religious or class discrimination… Article 44; The State acknowledges that the homage of public worship is due to Almighty God. It shall hold His Name in reverence, and shall respect and honor religion… Freedom of conscience and the free profession and practice of religion are, subject to public order and morality, guaranteed to every citizen…”
Note that the Vatican City State in located within Rome, Italy; and the bishops of Rome go back to the 1st century; however the Vatican Holy See has its own Euro printing press and is the independent sovereign entity and location of the Roman Catholic Church.
Constitution of 1947: “Article 3;…All citizens have equal social dignity and are equal before the law, without distinction of sex, race, language, religion, political opinion, personal and social conditions… Article 7; The State and the Catholic Church are independent and sovereign, each within its own sphere. Their relations are regulated by the Lateran pacts. Amendments to such Pacts which are accepted by both parties shall not require the procedure of constitutional amendments. Article 8; All religious denominations are equally free before the law. Denominations other than Catholicism have the right to self-organization according to their own statutes, provided these do not conflict with Italian law. Their relations with the State are regulated by law, based on agreements with their respective representatives…”
Constitution of the Principality of Liechtenstein (2003): Article 6; the German language is the national and official language… Art. 14; the supreme function of the State is to promote the general welfare of the People. For this purpose, the State shall provide for the institution and maintenance of law, and for the protection of the religious, moral and economic interests of the People… Art. 15; the State shall devote particular attention to education and schooling. This must be so ordered and administered that, from the co-operation of the family, the school and the Church, the younger generation may be imbued with religious and moral principles and patriotic sentiments and may be fitted for their future occupations. Art. 16; …the whole field of education and schooling shall be under the supervision of the State, without prejudice to the inviolability of the doctrine of the Church… Art. 37; Freedom of belief and conscience are guaranteed for all persons. The Roman Catholic Church is the State Church and as such enjoys the full protection of the State; other confessions shall be entitled to practice their creeds and to hold religious services to the extent consistent with morality and public order…”
Constitution of Malta (1964; 2001): “Chapter 1; 2: The religion of Malta is the Roman Catholic Apostolic Religion. The authorities of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church have the duty and the right to teach which principles are right and which are wrong. Religious teaching of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Faith shall be provided in all State schools as part of compulsory education… Section 40: All persons in Malta shall have full freedom of conscience and enjoy the free exercise of their respective mode of religious worship. No person shall be required to receive instruction in religion or to show knowledge or proficiency in religion if, in the case of a person who has not attained the age of sixteen years, objection to such requirement is made by the person who according to law has authority over him…”
Constitution of the Principality… 1962: “Art. 8. The French language shall be the official language of the State. Art. 9. The Catholic, Apostolic and Roman religion is the religion of the State… Art. 23. Freedom of religion and of public worship, and freedom to express one’s opinions in all matters, shall be guaranteed, subject to the right to prosecute any offences committed in the exercise of the said freedoms…”
Constitution of 1814 with Amendments – 2014: “Article 2. Our values will remain our Christian and humanistic heritage. This Constitution shall ensure democracy, a state based on the rule of law and human rights… Article 4; The King shall at all times profess the Evangelical-Lutheran religion… Article 16; All inhabitants of the Realm shall have the right to free exercise of their religion. The Norwegian church, an Evangelical-Lutheran church, shall remain the Norwegian National Church and will as such be supported by the State. Detailed provisions as to its system shall be laid down by law. All religious and philosophical communities were to be supported on an equal footing. …Article 44; The Princess or Prince who, in the cases mentioned in Article 41, conducts the government shall make the following oath in writing before the Storting: “I promise and swear that I will conduct the government in accordance with the Constitution and the Laws, so help me God, the Almighty and Omniscient.”
Constitution of 1972: “…invoking the protection of God, we decree the Political Constitution… Article 19; there shall be no public or private privileges, or discrimination, by reason of race, birth, social class, handicap, sex, religion or political ideology… Article 35; All religions may be professed and all forms of worship practiced freely, without any other limitation than respect for Christian morality and public order. It is recognized that the Catholic religion is practiced by the majority of Panamanians…”
Constitution of 1992: “The Paraguayan People, through their legitimate representatives meeting in Constituent National Convention, invoking God, recognizing human dignity in order to assure liberty, equality and justice… Article 24; The freedom of religion, of worship, and ideological freedom are recognized without any restrictions other than those established in this Constitution and in the law. No religious faith will have official character. The relations between the State and the Catholic Church are based on independence, cooperation, and autonomy. The independence and the autonomy of the churches and religious faiths are guaranteed, without any restrictions other than those imposed by this Constitution and the laws… Article 82; the predominant role [protagonismo] of the Catholic Church in the historical and cultural formation of the Nation is recognized.”
From about 1532 to the Constitution of 1920, Catholicism was the state religion; and all state or private schools taught Catholicism during most of the 19th and 20th century. Article 4 of the constitution of 1823 protected the Catholic Church stating “the Religion of the Republic is the Roman Catholic Apostolic Religion which excludes the exercise of any other religion.”
Constitution of 1993: The Democratic Constituent Congress invoking Almighty God, obeying the mandate of the Peruvian people, and remembering the sacrifice of all the preceding generations of our land, has resolved to enact the following Constitution: …No person shall be discriminated against on the basis of origin, race, sex, language, religion… Article 50; the State recognizes the Catholic Church as an important element in the historical, cultural, and moral formation of Peru, and lends the church its cooperation. The State respects other denominations and may establish forms of collaboration with them…”
Constitution of 1997: “We, the Polish Nation – all citizens of the Republic, both those who believe in God as the source of truth, justice, good and beauty, as well as those not sharing such faith but respecting those universal values as arising from other sources, equal in rights and obligations towards the common good – Poland, beholden to our ancestors for their labors, their struggle for independence achieved at great sacrifice, for our culture rooted in the Christian heritage of the Nation and in universal human values… recognizing our responsibility before God or our own consciences, hereby establish this Constitution… Article 25; Churches and other religious organizations shall have equal rights… The relationship between the State and churches and other religious organizations shall be based on the principle of respect for their autonomy and the mutual independence of each in its own sphere, as well as on the principle of cooperation for the individual and the common good. The relations between the Republic of Poland and the Roman Catholic Church shall be determined by international treaty concluded with the Holy See, and by statute.”
After the Reformation of the 16th century, the Catholic Church lost any control in Scotland. The Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) or the Kirk was recognized as the national or state Church in the Church of Scotland Act of 1921 and was given recognition by the Union Agreement of 1707 or Union (Treaty) with England Act. Since 1921 the Church of Scotland has been separate from the State.
The Confession of Faith Act of 1690 was established by Britain’s Parliament to preserve the “true reformed Protestant religion and for the true church of Christ with this kingdom…” And taxes helped maintain the “Presbyterian government,” “Presbyterian ministers” and state schools and teachers to teach.
In 1980, section 8 of the Education Act in Scotland stated “it shall not be lawful for an education authority to discontinue religious observance or the provision of instruction in religion (followed the 1872 Act ‘to give instruction in religion to children.’).” In 1991, the Scottish Office Education Department still stated that “all primary pupils should take part in religious observance not less than once a week… (for) Christian character…” Nevertheless, the majority of Scots are now non-religious. In 2008, the common law offence of blasphemy against Jesus Christ was abolished.
Christians from Roman and elsewhere witnessed in Spain as early as the 1st century; and in 587, King Reccared at Toledo converted from Arian Christianity to the Roman Catholic Christian religion. Synods and Councils for centuries controlled religious worship in Spain. After Spanish Christians drove out the Muslim Moors, in 1478 the Spanish Inquisition, headed by Catholic bishops under the authority of Catholic monarchs sought to convert or purge all non-Catholics from the territory. Many such as the Jews faced great persecution at that time.
The Concordat of 1851 between Spain and the Vatican made Catholicism “the only religion of the Spanish nation.”
Constitution of 2011: Section 16; “Freedom of ideology, religion and worship of individuals and communities is guaranteed, with no other restriction on their expression than may be necessary to maintain public order as protected by law. No one may be compelled to make statements regarding his or her ideology, religion or beliefs. 3. No religion shall have a state character. The public authorities shall take into account the religious beliefs of Spanish society and shall consequently maintain appropriate cooperation relations with the Catholic Church and other confessions…”
Today, like most nations, Switzerland is a secular state where state and religion are separated. However, early 16th century, the Swiss Confederation was home to many notable Reformers at one time or another, including, Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli (translated Zurich Bible; 1531), John Calvin, Guillaume Farel and Philip Melanchthon. Switzerland was subject to religious wars and civil war. Before the Constitution of 1848 there were legal restrictions of worship; allowing only the practice of Christianity. By 1866, certain denominational restrictions were dropped. Due to the Pope claiming ‘infallibility’ in public religious doctrine, and due to Pope Pius IX previously declaring Mary born by ‘immaculate conception;’ about 1871 over 400,000 Catholics left the Roman Catholic Church in Switzerland. In 1874, the Swiss Constitution banned the Catholic Jesuit order, closed monasteries and restricted control by Catholic bishops (the ban of the Jesuit order lasted until 1973).
Constitution of 1999: “…In the name of Almighty God! The Swiss People and the Cantons; mindful of their responsibility towards creation… The National Languages are German, French, Italian, and Romansh… Art. 8; No person may be discriminated against… religious, ideological or political convictions… Art. 15; Freedom of religion… is guaranteed… Every person has the right to join or to belong to a religious community, and to follow religious teachings… Art. 72; the regulation of the relationship between the church and the state is the responsibility of the Cantons…”
Constitution of 1875 (rev. 1988): “…Since it appears to be the will of God that man should be free as He has made all men of one blood therefore shall the people of Tonga and all who sojourn or may sojourn in this Kingdom be free forever… All men are free to practice their religion and to worship God as they may deem fit in accordance with the dictates of their own consciences and to assemble for religious service in such places as they may appoint. But it shall not be lawful to use this freedom to commit evil and licentious acts or under the name of worship to do what is contrary to the law and peace of the land. The Sabbath Day shall be kept holy in Tonga and no person shall practice his trade or profession or conduct any commercial undertaking on the Sabbath Day except according to law…”
Vladimir the Great, Prince of Novgorod and Kiev and ruler of the Rus (Russians) about 988 converted to Christianity and Christianized the Kievan Rus who would make Eastern Orthodox Christianity the state religion and destroy all the pagan statues.
Constitution of 1996 (rev. 2014): “The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, on behalf of the Ukrainian people… aware of our responsibility before God, our own conscience, past, present and future generations… adopt this Constitution… Art. 34; everyone is guaranteed the right to freedom of thought and speech, and to the free expression of his or her views and beliefs. Art. 35; everyone has the right to freedom of personal philosophy and religion. This right includes the freedom to profess or not to profess any religion, to perform alone or collectively and without constraint religious rites and ceremonial rituals, and to conduct religious activity. The exercise of this right may be restricted by law only in the interests of protecting public order, the health and morality of the population, or protecting the rights and freedoms of other persons. The Church and religious organizations in Ukraine are separated from the State, and the school – from the Church…”
Constitution of 1991 (rev. 2009): “WE, THE PEOPLE OF ZAMBIA by our representatives… DECLARE the Republic a Christian nation while upholding the right of every person to enjoy that person’s freedom of conscience or religion; Art. 11; It is recognized and declared that every person in Zambia has been and shall continue to be entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual… freedom of conscience, expression, assembly, movement and association… Art. 12; No person shall deprive an unborn child of life by termination of pregnancy except in accordance with the conditions laid down by an Act of Parliament for that purpose… Art. 19; no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of conscience, and for the purposes of this Article the said freedom includes freedom of thought and religion, freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others, and both in public and in private, to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance… No religious community or denomination shall be prevented from providing religious instruction for persons of that community or denomination in the course of any education provided by the community or denomination or from establishing and maintaining institutions to provide social services for such persons.”
What Makes a Christian Nation?
By simple mathematics a nation, country or state is a Christian one if the majority of its population is Christian. But there lies the heart of the matter – what is a Christian. The Holy Scriptures says, “I the Lord search the heart and mind, to reward each person according to the actions (deeds, ways; Jer. 17:10).” It is not enough to say you are a Christian; “the just (righteous) shall live by faith (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:1; Heb. 10:38),” “for it is with your heart that you believe and …it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved (Rom. 10:10).”
And thus John says, “Let no one deceive you; the one who does what is right (Gen. 4:7) is righteous… and the one who continues in willful sin (Heb. 10:26) is evil… whoever does not practice righteous is not of God… Let us not love in word… but in action and in truth… we have faith toward God… we keep His commandments and do things pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another… The ones who keep His commandments abide in Him and …His Spirit (in them; 1 John chapter 3).”
True Christians love, service and fear God; know and believe Jesus Christ has come in the flesh and was resurrected from the dead and is the Son of God, King of the Universe and shall soon return in glory and judgment. (Deut. 10:12-13, 17; Exo. 34:6-7). See: 2 Tim. 4:1; 1 Pet. 4:1-8; Eccl 12:14; Rom. 14:12).
True Christians are not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; nevertheless, Jesus said, “…whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven… (Matthew 10:32-33).” “For it is time for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God (1 Peter 4:17)?
A Christian is one who believes in the “elementary or principle teachings about Jesus Christ… of repentance, faith toward God, the resurrection of the dead, eternal judgment, etc. (Heb. 6:1);” a Christian is a “follower of God (Eph. 5:1)” and Christ, and who know and believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God, who is Salvation and has the words of eternal life (John 6:68). We are not Christians by birth or census; we are Christian by re-birth (John 3:3) and confession (Rom. 10:9).
There was a time when Christians taught and confessed their faith or creed, even before the Nicene Creed (325 AD) which says:
|I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.
Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
The Apostles Creed (the oldest creed of the Christian church; about 140 AD):
|I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell; The third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, And sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; The Holy catholic (universal) Church, the Communion of Saints; The Forgiveness of sins; The Resurrection of the body, And the Life everlasting. Amen.|