Over here R2K aficionado and Cemetery Professor Dr. R. Scott Clark argues that America was never a Christian nation.
Now I will interact with this a wee bit but it should be noted that the position of R2K in general is that it is not possible for nations to be Christian. As such, we really are in “Captain Obvious” territory where we find a guy who holds that it is not possible for any nation to be Christian argues that these united States were never a Christian nation. What next Scott — an argument that water is wet?
1.) Clark argues that it is a myth that America was founded as a Christian nation. He also argues that it is a myth that America was founded as a non-Christian nation as is pushed by the ridiculous 1619 Project. So, Scott has argued here that America was founded as neither a Christian nation nor as a non-Christian nation. This may cause the poor person who doesn’t have a Ph.D to pop their eyes and ask, “Wait a minute. How can it be the case that America was founded as neither a Christian nor a non-Christian nation? What’s left?”
But of course such a person hasn’t learned the R2K dialectics where no nation is ever founded on any religion as all nations exist as entities who inhabit the common square that is swayed by no religion but rather all the folks of all the different religions in any set nation are governed by natural law. R2K is the perfect religion for multiculturalism since it requires that the religion of no religion be the national faith of the people as combined with a willingness for the multifaiths in the multicultural national environment to have their gods agree to play second fiddle to the no-god god of R2K. Really, what happens in this arrangement is that the State becomes the god of the nation as it ends up with the authority to autonomously define what Natural law teaches.
Scott mocks theonomists and theocrats on the left and on the right but the fact of the matter is that Scott practices his own kind of theonomy and theocracy. In Scott’s theocracy the God is the State and in Scott’s theonomy is autonomous humanist law. Now, of course Scott will jump up and down insisting that is not the case but the only people he is convincing by that are his fellow R2K travelers. Non-practitioners of R2k understand that all nations are bound by religion and understand that R2K is its own religion.
2.) Next Scott goes after another favorite R2K hate shibboleth next in attacking “fundamentalism.” Scott conveniently decides to give his own unique definition of fundamentalism (a trait practiced by all fundamentalists) and then attacks his sui generis definition of fundamentalism.
Scott’s definition of fundamentalism is anyone who believes the following doctrines; pre-tribulational premillennialism, Dispensationalism, abstinence from alcohol, 6-day-24-hour creation and the myth of Christian America. Now Clark doesn’t tell us if one has to believe all these markers to be a fundamentalist or if it only takes belief in one of these markers to be a fundamentalist. Personally, I excoriate the first three of Scott’s markers while holding to the last two. Maybe, in Scottie’s world that makes me 2/5’s a fundamentalist? On this score Scott’s lack of precision makes it difficult to know who he does and does not have in his cross-hairs. However, were I a poker playing man I’d be pushing all my chips in the middle of the table on the bet that Scott would label me a dreaded “fundamentalist.” (But that’s “ok” because if I’m allowed to make my own definition of fundamentalist like Scott does, you can be sure that I find Scott to be a R2K fundamentalist.)
3.) Along the way Scott takes to the woodshed some poor anonymous OPC pastor who once told Scott that he would not have voted to ordain Machen since Machen held to a day-age view of creation. What Scott doesn’t tell us is that he would not vote to ordain a candidate who holds with deep conviction a 24-7 view of creationism.
4.) Scott suggests that David Barton, the R2K bête noire author who supports the Christian America myth is the only chap that is looked to for guidance on the idea of Christian America. Personally, I really really don’t like David Barton but I still believe in the historical reality of Christian America. I don’t need to read Barton’s hagiography in order to come to that conclusion. I only need to read the original State Constitutions as they almost uniformly were constructed on a Christian basis. I only need to read the sabbath laws that were on the books of most of the original states. Beyond that I can read about the influence of Scripture on the Declaration of Independence by Gary T. Amos. I can read Benjamin F. Morris’ work on the influence of Christianity on America. I can read Presbyterian Minister David W. Hall’s “The Genevan Reformation and the American Founding.” I can read M. Stanton Evan’s work on the subject. I can read the election sermons of the Puritans and the Black Robed Regiment. There are numerous other authors out there besides the crackpot David Barton that one can turn to find the hard evidence that America was founded as a Christian Nation. In the end it is Scott’s R2K presupposition that will not allow him to get past his guiding mythos that it is impossible for a Nation to be Christian.
5.) To his credit Scott also disagrees with the notion curried among the left that there was no Christian influence on America. It seems that Scott wants to say on one hand that there were Christians in America’s founding but that the Laws, Institutions and documents were never Christian in an objective sense because if the founding Laws, Institutions and documents were Christian in an objective sense (that is that Christianity was instantiated in America’s Laws, Institutions, and Documents) then the R2K jig is up. So, Scott wants to concede that subjectively there were Christians who influenced our founding without stipulating that in an objective sense America was Christian. However, it is indisputable that America was founded as a Christian nation as a cursory look at the original State Constitutions by themselves would prove.
6.) Scott says his expertise and reading in the 16th and 17th century era moves him to conclude that the idea that America was founded as a Christian nation is “mostly false.” Besides, some guy named Mark Edwards agrees with him therefore it must be so. Again, though, dear reader, please understand that Scott’s reading is all through his R2K prism which invariably dictates that it is impossible for any nation to be Christian.
7.) It is true that these united States experienced a worldview shift as among its cultural gatekeepers with the rise, first of Unitarian Deism and then later with Emersonian Transcendentalism, but even with the rise of these anti-Christ worldviews an argument can be made that rank and file independent minded Americans with their family bibles remained deeply influenced by Biblical Christianity. (Will it disappoint Scott to know that I agree with him in the idea that the 1st great and 2nd great awakening, on the whole, were not beneficial to the Church or nation?)
8.) Scott, by listing notable Christians in America’s founding and by conceding that there was indeed faithful Christians associated with the founding demonstrates that he has a problem making a needed distinction between individuals in a nation being Christian and the nation itself having a Christian founding as evidenced by its Laws, Institutions, and Documents. It’s almost as if Scott is counting noses of all the Christian founders and the Enlightenment founders and then concluding that if there are more Enlightenment founders than Christian founders that proves America was not founded as a Christian nation. However, that is not the alone place to consider when seeking to answer the question; “Was America founded as a Christian nation.” The place to look is the colonial / state laws, the founding documents, charters, and state Constitutions, as well as the Institutions themselves. Doesn’t prayer to open up Court sessions count for anything? What about days called by Magistrates for prayer and fasting? What about placing one’s hand on the Bible to take a oath? These things indicate something about our founding Scott.
9.) At the end of his article Scott takes a swipe at postmillennialists. Of course he took a swipe earlier at theonomists and theocrats. We’ve already established above that Scott himself is a theonomist and a theocrat. It’s ok Scott… all people are. We should now speak to Scott’s swipe at postmillennialism. Keep in mind that Scott is a rabid amillennialist. (All R2K types are.) As a rabid amillennialist it is Scott’s expectation that the nations will not bow the knee to the Lord Christ in time and space. As such any call for any nation to become decidedly and definitively Christian violates Scott’s eschatology. It just can’t happen in an eschatology that anticipates disaster and defeat for the expansion of the Kingdom of God beyond the walls of the Church.
10.) Scott promises a part II where he will turn his tender caresses towards the theonomists and theocrats. When Scott fires that salvo we will be here to give as good as we get.