Since attending a Catholic college, I've realized that a lot more people think America is a Christian nation that I would have assumed. I don't know if it's just a lack of education about the truth about America and religion or what, but it was startling to discuss religion and politics in my Religious Studies 101 course and hear "We're a Christian nation" repeated so many times.
The truth is America is very much not a Christian nation. People came to America for many reasons — one of which was for religious freedom. Sure, a lot of people being persecuted in Europe were different sects of Christianity, but that doesn't mean they created a Christian nation when they came to America.
One argument many people in that 101 class tried to make was that our founding fathers were devout Christians; therefore, we are a Christian nation. This is not true.
Sure, some of them were Christians. Some were Quakers, others Lutherans or other types of Christians. But some were Deists, like Benjamin Franklin. And Thomas Jefferson. John Adams, James Madison, Thomas Paine, George Washington. All Deists.
Another argument people in my class made was that it's in the Pledge of Allegiance, which reflects that we're a Christian nation. Again, this is wrong.
The original version of the Pledge was simply: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." Eventually, more got added on.
"One nation, under God" became part of the Pledge in 1954 under President Eisenhower as a reaction to Communism. The government wanted to show a clear distinction between America and the "godless" Communists. Hence, they put God on our side and communism was defeated. (Not exactly, but you know what I mean.)
Obviously, we have laws separating Church and State. The State cannot impose religious exams or uphold one religion above the others or get involved in the religions of citizens. So clearly the truth is: we are not a Christian nation.
This is so important to remember, especially now. Having a "Christian" president — though it's not hard to argue that President Donald Trump violates many Christian values — is not something that should be central in America because it doesn't matter what religion the president is. He cannot and should not uphold one religion.
We are not a Christian nation. We have never been a Christian nation. We will never be a Christian nation.