At a press event with the president of Turkey in 2006, then Senator Barack Obama made the comment that the United States was no longer simply a Christian nation — that America had become more ecumenical and was comprised of a diverse set of faiths.
Obama was widely criticized for his remark at the time, but this week the National Association of Evangelicals echoed his comments with the results of a survey of selected evangelical leaders. When asked whether or not the U.S. was a Christian nation, 68 percent of them said no.
The association’s president, Leith Anderson, added “Much of the world refers to America as a Christian nation, but most of our Christian leaders don’t think so.” Other members of the organization gave different reasons for their answers that ranged from rejecting the idea that a nation can be solely Christian to a position that America once had been, but is no longer a nation of Christians.
But many of them were in agreement that more domestic missionary work was required to put the country back on the Evangelical path.
The U.S. doesn’t have an official religion, but how has Christianity influenced its people and history?
Reza Aslan, editor at the Daily Beast and internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions; his latest book is “Beyond Fundamentalism: confronting religious extremism in the age of globalization”
David L. Holmes, author of “The Faiths of the Founding Fathers ”, and The Faiths of the Postwar Presidents: From Truman to Obama, and former professor of religious studies at the College of William and Mary