Is America Built On Christianity

In America the public school system once taught that the nation was founded on Christianity and the ten commandments, though even today in many areas, students hear about Christian values and beliefs. But is this really accurate? In some senses it is, in that America was founded on the idea of religious freedom, including the freedom to practice Christian beliefs without persecution.

Religion has been a part of American culture since the early days of the first colonies, when over 90% of the population identified as Christian. But even in those days, that did not mean that everyone embraced the same Christian faith. The Puritans who colonized the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630 were Calvinists who believed that the Church should be led by a select few. Other Protestant faiths, such as Lutherans and Anglicans, were initially more dominant in the Southern colonies.

Tolerance of other beliefs gradually grew, and modern America is marked by religious diversity, which includes significant numbers of non-Christians, such as Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and those who practice traditional native religions and indigenous spiritualties.

Today, regardless of the founding fathers’ religious beliefs, the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, and the government cannot endorse any specific religious beliefs. This has recently come into question in court battles over the borderwall proposed by President Trump, as well as the issues of contraception and abortion.

A Gallop poll in 2016 showed that 70.6% of Americans identified as being Christian. However, this does not mean that America is built on Christianity. Government functions, for example, in many states, are often proposed in the name of Jesus, but the election of leaders is based on their individual promises to serve the citizens faithfully, not their religion or beliefs.

Ultimately, it could be argued that America is built on the concept of religious freedom and the rights of the individual to believe and practice as they wish. This is a constitutional right, which must be upheld by public officials. While many citizens embrace Christianity and values associated with Christian beliefs, they do not do so because they are required to do so by the government.

Influence of Christianity in Politics

The question of whether America is “built on Christianity” is often discussed in the context of the roles of religion and politics. Since the 1950s, there has been a growing presence of “Christian conservatives” that have become increasingly influential in the Republican party and through the political system overall. This has led some to argue that American politics have become “dominated” by Christian values and ideologies.

The Trump administration has also been accused of embracing Christian conservative values, with the president’s appointment of several justices to the Supreme Court – including Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh – raising concerns among religious liberals. Recent laws passed by some US states that restrict access to abortion, and even a few laws prohibiting same-sex marriage, have also caused much debate regarding how far “Christian values” should be enshrined in law.

However, there has also been a recent surge of liberal “nones,” (those who do not declare any religious affiliation) that has led to a rise of democratic candidates who do not embrace religious values in the same way as many traditional politicians. It is perhaps telling that the current president’s opponents – such as Senator Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren – have all been open about their Christian faith, but have not used it as a platform for their campaigns.

Overall, then, it seems that the role of Christianity in American politics is changing, but is far from becoming the preeminent force to define the outcomes of elections.

Differences in Christianity

There are also those who argue that America is not built on Christianity because of differences in denominations and interpretations of the bible. Puritans and Quakers, for example, had very different practices, beliefs and ways of life. Studies have shown that modern day Christianity is also divided in terms of beliefs, with 53% of Americans (as of 2006) considering themselves to be Protestant, and 28% identifying as Catholic.

It is important to recognize that although the majority of Americans may identify as Christian, the practice and interpretation of one’s faith varies greatly from person to person. Even within one denomination, beliefs can differ greatly, whether it’s about the role of women, social justice or end of life issues. This provides further evidence that America is not “built on Christianity.”

Impact of Christianity on American Culture

At the same time, it is hard to deny the impact of Christianity on American culture. Holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter are based in Christian values, and often celebrated by the majority, regardless of their faith. Churches are a common sight all over the US, and often serve as a hub for communities and families.

Christianity has also provided a platform for social movements, including the civil rights struggle, which was spearheaded by none other than Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Christian values have also been used to reject racism and oppression in various forms, as well as to promote women’s rights, LGBTQ rights and social justice.

It is clear then, that although America is not “built on Christianity” in a literal sense, Christianity is deeply rooted in the culture, and often serves as the moral backbone that drives forward ethical decisions and social movements.

Attitudes Toward Non-Christian Religions

Another factor to consider is the attitude towards those of other faiths and religions. Unfortunately, in mainstream America there is still a lingering bias and prejudice towards groups that do not identify with the Christian faith. This can often lead to discussion and debate around the “values” of America, which many assume to be based in Christianity.

However, this is an issue that is gradually improving. Through exposure to different cultures and faiths, Americans are increasingly respecting the beliefs of those who do not share their own. Furthermore, initiatives such as the Interfaith Youth Core, an organization dedicated to promoting understanding and collaboration between different faiths, are providing opportunities for religious dialogue and acceptance.

Court Decisions Reflect View That America is Not Built on Christianity

Finally, it is important to note that court decisions in America reflect the view that this is a nation founded on religious freedom and not on Christianity. In 1947, the Supreme Court case Everson v. Board of Education declared that “the American people have abjured the doctrine that their Government may adopt and enforce any religious doctrine or creed.” Furthermore, in 1975, the Supreme Court ruled in Stone v. Graham that government postings of the Ten Commandments violated the First Amendment.

The decisions of the Supreme Court demonstrate that America is built on the principle of religious freedom, not on any particular religion. This point is often overlooked when discussing whether or not America is “founded on Christianity”

Influence of Christianity in Education

It is also important to consider the role of Christianity in America’s education system. The Bible has had a pervasive presence in public schools, primarily in the form of Scripture readings at the beginning of each day. In some states, there is even a Christian-based curriculum, though this is typically only in private religious schools.

But with the rise of religious diversity, there has been an effort to create a more inclusive curriculum, one that is based on multiculturalism and an understanding of different beliefs and creeds. This ensures that the education system does not privilege Christianity, but instead fosters an environment of religious acceptance and tolerance.

In addition, public school teachers are prohibited from proselytizing to their students. They are instead expected to leave religious instruction to a student’s family or religious institution.

Religious Freedom in the US Constitution

The First Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees the right of individuals to practice any religion they so choose. This includes not just Christianity, but all other religions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism. This right is integral to American culture and serves as a foundation for religious tolerance and acceptance.

Religious freedoms even extend beyond the individual’s right to practice their faith, with court rulings such as the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case in 2014 protecting the rights of religious corporations to refuse certain services on religious grounds.

The ability to freely practice one’s faith, or lack thereof, is often seen as one of the defining characteristics of America, and this is reflected in the numerous court rulings that uphold the rights of individuals to practice their religion without interference from the government.


In conclusion, while America may have been founded by a predominantly Christian population, it is clear that the nation is now much more diverse in terms of its religious landscape. While it is undeniable that Christianity has had an impact on American culture, it is not accurate to say that this nation is “built on Christianity.”

America is instead a nation built on the principle of religious freedom, offering a place of refuge to people of all faiths, beliefs and backgrounds. This is reflected in the US Constitution and in court decisions, which allow individuals the freedom to practice their faith without discrimination.

Jennifer Johnson is an experienced author with a deep passion for exploring the spiritual traditions of different cultures and religions. She has been writing about religion and spirituality for the past ten years in both print and digital platforms, engaging readers in meaningful dialogue about the soul's journey through this life. With degrees in Comparative Religion and English Literature, she brings an insightful perspective to her work that bridges the gap between traditional knowledge and modern theories. A lifelong traveler, Jenn has lived in multiple countries exploring various paths to understanding faith, and her dedication to learning new things is palpable in every piece she creates.

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