America: A Protestant Nation Or A Secular State? Or Both?

I believe the most foundational difference between the two sides of the present culture/political war is found in the different definitions of America.  
There has always been a certain confusion in America between the nation and the government.  The American nation, like all nations had common language, culture, and belief systems.  The fact that the nation was first settled by Englishmen necessarily means that its culture was steeped in Protestantism.  British identity itself was based upon its belief in its mission as bulwark against Roman Papacy.  The English Civil war was the pump that impelled settlers to the Atlantic seaboard.  \ Kings James and Charles persecuted Puritans and Separatists.  We all know how one group of Separatists fled to Leiden in the Netherlands and then to Plymouth MA.  They were followed by a larger wave of Puritans who established Boston.  

In the midst of this exodus of small-church Protestants the deadlock between King Charles and Parliament came to a head and Civil War began.  When the Puritans or Roundheads won, many of the Cavalier- High Anglican Church supporters left for Virginia.  Though Jamestown was settled far earlier, the Chesapeake/Virginia area remained lightly populated.  Jamestown was the work of men emulating Spanish Conquistadors seeking gold and silver.  There was little interest in bringing families.  Not until Oliver Cromwell’s victory did many English families make the move to Virginia.  

Ultimately Charles II was restored and upon his death King William of the Netherlands married to the English princess Mary was given the throne ( as William and Mary).  

Thus America’s first settlers were extremely motivated by their personal views on Protestant Christianity.  

That sense of Liberty common to all Englishmen on either side of the Atlantic is largely derived from the Protestant faith.  Protestantism, as opposed to Catholicism, does not claim collective salvation. It is in individual salvation through Jesus that hope is placed and it is not through membership in The Church of Rome that saves. This difference is one that spurred the individualism of the Anglosphere.  

(This is not to say that Catholics or Jews in America are any less immersed in Liberty than are Protestants.  It is to say that the Protestant-derived culture produced a liberality that benefited all.)  

America was a Protestant nation but a secular state.  That is a key point.  

The 20 and 21st centuries have seen a lethal attack on the nation’s culture.  The power of the secular government has been used to weaken the religious beliefs and behavior of the American People.  Why?  Knowing how interdependent Protestant Christianity and Liberty have been those who seek the fundamental transformation of America have worked insidiously for a century to undermine Culture.  It is our inchoate sense of their modus operandi that bothers us to the degree that it does in regard to “gay” marriage.  It is not merely opposition to the “expansion” of marriage to include same-sex couples, it is the vague sense that government is superseding the Nation.  America was unique in that we were already a People before we had a government.  It seems commonsensical (another trait of English Protestantism) that a nation has a government and not the reverse!  

As a Messianic Jew, I too understand how we must be grateful to the Protestant (especially the Calvinist rather than the Lutheran side) ethic.  It is obvious that the ethic will not survive the disappearance of religious fervor.  

Those who hate America, hate Capitalism.  Those who have disdain for Free Enterprise are implacable foes of The Modern Age.   Post Moderns are always indwelled by the secular imperative.  It is why the only ethnic group that is allowed to be mocked in the media, movies and TV are WASPs.  The White Anglo-Saxon Protestants have been conditioned to apologize for their very history!  This bodes poorly for the American nation.  

Let us not allow confusion between the State and Nation cloud our clarity!

2 thoughts on “America: A Protestant Nation Or A Secular State? Or Both?

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