A Christian People

There is often a heated and contentious debate in the US among academics, historians and everyday folk about whether the US was, is, or was intended to be, a “Christian Nation.” The truth of the matter is a bit grey and complicated.

The Founding Fathers who were rebels and traitors to the English Crown in 1776 where for the most part, products of a secular, humanist 18th-century “Enlightenment” movement in Western Europe that was rooted in empiricism, skepticism, and science. The were about 90% “Deists” and agnostics and overall hostile to what many Christians called, “reveled Biblical Truth.”

However, by the 1940s and 1950s, a very different America emerged from the one that was founded by rebellion against the lawful and rightful authority of King George III. The America of the 1950s was obedient to the seated government, eschewed rebellion and revolution, and embraced Church-going, “Bible-thumping” Christianity and Catholicism.

May 7, 1949

This photo taken outside of a Protestant church on a Sunday morning in America (location unknown) is a good snapshot of who we were back in the 40s and 50s. It is a moment in time that captures the racial, class and religious demographics of the US in 1949.

Jutposed against the America of 2021 the photograph revieals much about America.

First, there is no morbid obesity among the church congregation. This was a time before the advent of “fast food” and “high fruticose corn syrup” being added to everything from soda to to cereal. Americans were thinner and healthier in 1949 than they are today.

Second, America was 92% White; composed primarily of Western/Northern European and English founding stock. These were the days before large-scale, massive waves of non-White, non-Western, non-Christian immigrants started flooding into the US permanently changing and subverting it’s racial and religious demographics. This photo has no Jews, no Muslims, no Africans, no Arabs, no Persians, no Indians, no Asians: Just Irish, Germans, Swedes, English, Scots, Russians, Poles, Hungarians, and Italians.

Third, according to studies and surveys done in 1950 through the early 1960s, church attendance and Christian affiliation was the highest ever in America. Some 90% of Americans surveyed said that they were Christians of either a Protestant, Catholic, or Mormon sect. An astonishing amount, a clear majority, some 63% said they attended church services every Sunday.

Yes, in the 1950s and early 1960s, America was most certainly a Christian nation. And it is no surprise that in the year 1954, “One nation under God” was added to the pledge of allegiance.

Sadly, this America no longer exists.