Is America a Christian nation? Was It Ever?

January 2010 - Focus
by Rosanne McDowell

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That was the topic of a debate last October between E. Ray Moore, president of Frontline Ministries, and Herb Silverman, president of the Secular Coalition for America and professor at the College of Charleston. Sponsored by the Pastafarians, a USC student organization for atheists and agnostics, the event drew Christians and non-Christians alike to consider Moore’s defense of America’s Christian foundation and Silverman’s denial of it.

“My goal was to defend the well-documented historical and spiritual truths lived out by our Founding Fathers, proving that America was indeed founded as a Christian nation,” Moore says. “Although our country has ceased to honor some of the biblical principles that informed its foundation, much of America’s Christian heritage remains. These facts cannot be debated away.”

Both men approached their podiums with considerable qualifications for the debate. Dr. Silverman serves on the boards of the American Humanist Association and Atheist Alliance International and has debated similar topics at Oxford University. Early in 2009, he advocated the concept of the “godless Constitution” with an opinion editorial in the Washington Post. Nineteen years previously, he successfully sued the State of South Carolina to remove its religious oath for civil office holders.

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