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People originally came to America for religious freedom, but their newly created government and way of life didn’t always follow religious standards. Americans claim to be Christians, but the way they treat others and the way they act often strays from Christian beliefs. In this nation’s history, there are a lot of incidents where people acted before they thought about what they were doing. America was built with the intention of being a Christian nation, but it hasn’t ended up that way.
Christopher Columbus started his colonization of America with religious intentions. He originally went to China to convert the people to Christianity. This shows that he was a Christian man who wanted to convert others to Christianity. Columbus wanted to find “a route to China as a means of reviving the Christian struggle against Islam” (Lapsansky-Werner, 21). After many days at sea, Columbus reached land, but it wasn’t China or the East Indies like he assumed. Columbus had reached America and quickly claimed the land for Spain.
He dominated and overtook the people he found, thinking it was the right, Christian thing to do. Columbus started America with his religion: Christianity. The Christians that originally came to America with Columbus started it as a Christian nation (Lapsansky-Werner, 21).
Fast forward in America’s history, the slave trade begins. Most people believe slavery goes against Christian beliefs. This was a time when America didn’t seem like the Christian nation it claimed to be. There are places in the Bible that talk about slavery, but the way slaves were treated in America went against the Bible.
The Bible says, “Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know what you also have a master in heaven”(col. 4:1). Most slaveholders were known to mistreat their slaves. This mistreatment started during the middle passage when “slave traders branded their cargo with hot irons, placed them in shackles, and jammed them into dark holds so crowded that the slaves could hardly move” (Lapsansky-Werner, 69-70). Many slaves died during the middle passage, requiring more Africans to be shipped to America. Mistreatment continued as slaves were bought by slaveholders. The slave masters “demanded as much work as possible while minimizing the cost of feeding, clothing, and housing slaves…. Their work was long and hard: at least 12 hours a day, 6 days a week under close supervision of a white overseer, who whipped those who resisted”(Lapsansky-Werner, 70). America as a whole did not treat their slaves or people of color as humans. They believed that slaves were less than and did not deserve respect. They did not treat them right or fair, going against what the Bible says.
The issue of slavery caused a divide in the country. The north believed that slavery was wrong and that slaves were being mistreated. The south believed that slavery was okay. Because of their different options, they started fighting one another. The Bible says, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). The North and the South turned on each other and a war broke out. Neighbor fought neighbor, and brother fought brother. Unlike the Christian principles and beliefs that this nation was set on, we turned on one another. Without thinking about the Bible, the people took actions into their own hands and did what they believed was right.
Throughout history, American has strayed from a Christian nation. Although it was formed by Christians, poor decisions that went against the Bible caused it to be considered a non christian nation. America is called a melting pot, accepting many religions and ethnicities. It cannot be called a Christian nation if only some people are Christian and base their actions of the Bible. Doing the right thing and basing your actions off Christian principles are two different stories. Whether it was because of slavery or a war, some Americans have turned their back on Christian beliefs and principles. People do what they think is right for their country and right for themselves, not thinking about the Bible and what it teaches.
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