1. I've heard it said with increasing fervor that, from its inception, the United States of America was conceptualized and created as a 'Christian' nation, and that the Founders' religious beliefs mirrored those of present-day evangelical Christians. I've even heard recent claims that the rights and protections included in the Constitution and Bill of Rights extend ONLY to Christians.
I'm ashamed to admit I haven't read the entire Constitution (like most, it's on a well-intentioned to-do list). I've encountered people who feel the same way about the Constitution that Christian fundamentalists feel about the Bible-it's complete, unassailable, to be interpreted literally and to NOT be tampered with under any circumstances. It's a perfect document created by perfect people.
To the best of my knowledge, the Declaration of Independence DOES contain references to God (more correctly, nebulous references to a 'Creator' and 'Nature's God'). However, I can't think of a single reference to Christ or Christianity, the Virgin Mary, the Pope, or any of the other trappings of Judeo-Christianity.
In regards to HOW our government functions (the different branches and regulations regarding how they function) the Constitution is remarkably specific. But, there seems to be no outright mandate regarding the 'spiritual' leadership of our country. The First Amendment, at face value, simply seems to state that there will be NO official 'state religion', and no one religion will be given 'official preference' over another. Again, no mention of Christ or Christianity by name (or Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism, for that matter).
Question I: If the United States of America was truly meant to be a 'Christian nation', wouldn't this be EXPLICITLY proscribed in the Constitution, with no room for interpretation or error?
2. I don't consider myself a practicing Christian, but was raised a Presbyterian, and respect genuine spirituality. As far as Jesus is described historically, there are probably worse people to model your life on. When faced with one of life's questions, asking what the humble carpenter from Nazareth would do in your shoes is probably not a bad way to go.
The moment you identify yourself as a Christian, one of the very first questions you'll no doubt encounter is "What's your position on abortion?" Not, "What's your position on poverty?" or "What's your position on education?" or "What's your position on the rising cost of living vs. falling wages?" Nope. The first question you'll be asked (and judged on) will be how you feel about a relatively rare medical procedure.
While in college, I read the entire New Internation Version (separated into daily readings). I'm not sure the word 'abortion' ever appears in any form. The term 'aborted' may appear, but not in reference to the medical procedure. There ARE extensive entreaties against the taking of innocent life (i.e. 'thou shalt not kill'). I don't remember seeing a SINGLE reference to the medical procedure known as abortion (and the procedure probably goes back to the ancient Egyptians).
I'm not a fan of abortion-NO sane person is. My 'position' on abortion is: a truly free society would never ban the procedure, nor force an unwilling person to undergo one, but in a truly healthy society, abortions wouldn't be needed. I believe the taking of innocent life is immoral, which is why pretty much every conflict we've committed troops to since WWII has been, on some level, spiritually reprehensible. If this is all about 'life', you CANNOT think the invasion of Iraq was a good thing.
Fundamentalists view the Bible the way a strict constructionist views the Constitution: it's a perfect document, written by perfect people (as dictated by a perfect God). I'm told quite frequently that, no matter WHAT your crisis or dilemma is, the Bible presents a perfect, workable solution.
Question II: If the Bible forbids abortion, why isn't it specifically mentioned?
Thanks for reading. Play nice, kids.