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Is America a Christian nation?
USGA sponsored a debate called “Is America a Christian Nation?” in the HUC Thursday, Nov.15, 2012.
One side was presented by James D. Slack, a UAB professor in the Department of Government, who agreed that America is mostly Christian with many other influences also involved. Former President of American Atheists Ed Buckner stood on the fact that we were never based on Christian principles, but instead religious tolerance.
The constitution was the pivotal point for both of the speakers. Before the debate began, Slack stated that “there won’t be much to debate about” since both of their points were similar. Both used the founding fathers’ mindset to prove their points especially Thomas Jefferson.
Buckner proposed four points his opponent had to argue against him on. First, Americans do not all agree on the same religion. Second, people make mistakes. Third, religion cannot be decided by force or a vote. Lastly, individual liberty and protection of worth is the American way.
Slack stated social gospel and both of the Great Awakenings contributed to the foundations of the Christian America.
“We do agree on the foundations of following Christ, said Slack. “Church may get in the way, but Christian unity ends with Christ.”
Buckner called his notions “silly” and ridiculous.
“Just because 70% of Americans claim to be Christian, doesn’t mean anything,“ said Buckner. “It’s not about a majority or minority. …it’s about unity.”
He furthers his rebuttal by stating that we are a majority white nation and majority women, but we are not “America the women”.
During the rapid crossfire, Moderator Lucas Perry kept the debate as peaceful as possible.
“I didn’t like the debate that much. I found that they never answered the main question, but just bickered with each other,” said a UAB student.
“I think I win the debate,” commented Buckner towards the end of the debate.
Slack never addressed the issues that Buckner presented.