India’s government is catalyzing bigotry by advancing a Hindu nationalist agenda that marginalizes the Muslim community. Across the world, religion has become an increasingly significant factor within the political sphere. The U.S., included, faces a religious identity crisis: whether its Christian roots should have an influence on the legislation. The U.S. often proclaims its national identity on the basis of its Christian history, but this completely overlooks the deep history of indigenous tribes—the true original inhabitants. Aside from Native Americans, everyone else in the U.S. are either descended from immigrants or immigrants themselves. The argument for Christian values within the American government fundamentally ignores centuries of suppression and violence against Native Americans and their voices. Before addressing the religion debate in the U.S., it is crucial to acknowledge these are not the nation’s true roots rather they are a historical narrative- or overlay- crafted by the colonizers to obscure the Native American heritage. 

American history with Christianity begins with European settlements from the 16th and 17th centuries. Although Judaism was present, Christianity primarily grew in popularity. Various branches of Christianity spread, creating broader diversity. England had encouraged its residents to settle in the “New World,” and England even promised naturalization if they went through a 7-year process that included a Christian declaration. This incentive proved highly appealing for families struggling to gain citizenship status and effectively advanced the British Parliaments objective to spread Christianity. However, the main reason many traveled to the new land was to escape Europe’s government, where religion and government were closely intertwined. Some were even fleeing from religious persecution from the conviction that there was one true religion. The prospect of freely practicing their faith was the key driver. 

The thirteen individual colonies often had varying dominant branches of Christianity. For example, Massachusetts and Connecticut consisted of Puritans, Pennsylvania mostly had Quakers, and Maryland had many Catholics. The colonies were somewhat tolerant of diverse religious practices understanding many of the settlers came for religious freedom. Still, almost all the colonies imposed strict religious observance laws. There were laws mandating attendance at places of worship, and they had taxes which paid for salaries of ministers. Discrimination against other religions still existed with one notable example being four Quakers hanged in Boston in 1660. 

To ensure this new country wouldn’t be the same as England and to prevent further religious conflict the Founding Fathers came to a decision. They wanted to explicitly protect individual rights at a federal level. On December 15, 1791, the First Amendment was written, stating, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” 

They had now established freedom of religion, but as the country of immigrants grew over the centuries so did the religious and racial divisions. The U.S., as John F. Kennedy said, in 1958, is “a nation of immigrants. Except for those of Native American ancestry, we all can trace our heritage back to somewhere else, whether our ancestors came on the Mayflower or a slave ship, into Ellis Island or Angel Island, into JFK Airport or across the Rio Grande.” America is known for its long list of metaphorical descriptions from a melting pot to salad because it is a country of individuals with vastly diverse backgrounds. Developing a Christian presence as a form of conformity does not work in a country founded on the principle of freedom—a country meant for new beginnings. 

The U.S. had a suspenseful election in 2020 between Republican Donald J. Trump and Democrat Joseph Biden. The two major parties of the U.S. are Republican and Democrat and a study found “that more than half of Republicans believe the country should be a strictly Christian nation, either adhering to the ideals of Christian nationalism (21%) or sympathizing with those views (33%).” Trump, himself, had a bit of a blurred history with Christianity but his four years as president say otherwise. Trump has never been a devoted man of faith, but somehow Christian nationalists have been some of his strongest campaign activists and voting demographic. He created a 6 to 3 conservative majority within the Supreme Court assisting the Christian voice. He is even supporting the claim that Christians are severely persecuted and there needs to be federal intervention. Trump leveraged his Christian voters to win office and aims for a conservative reign again in 2025. Project 2025, a collection of conservative Christian proposals to reshape the government, was even pledged to be instated by Donald Trump. This plan details within 1000 pages of how to implement Christian values within the executive branch. To just name a few parts of the plan: they want to replace workers in the government with loyal Trump supporters rather than qualified individuals so their agenda can successfully be ratified and divert funds towards churches. Similar to Christian Conservatives in Texas, the Trump administration aims to ban books that contradict Christian values or support LGBTQ individuals, restrict rights for those who identify as LGBTQ, and prevent implementation of gun safety laws, but at the federal level so it affects all of America. Christians like Trump are advocating for America to align with traditionalist Christian values. In doing so, they infringe upon the personal freedoms of many and often engage in discrimination itself. A survey even found correlations between Christian nationalists and anti-Black, anti-immigrant, antisemitic, Islamophobic, and antifeminist views.

Strictly adhering to Christian values blinds Conservatives from understanding alternative perspectives on issues like abortion, gender roles, and assisted suicide. Christians often believe any pregnancy is a gift from God and therefore, it is murder and wrong to get an abortion. There are many cases of rape where the victim gets pregnant and, understandably, doesn’t want to keep the child. Some moderate Christians are in support of rape exception abortions, but the issue here is it is difficult to prove the child was conceived because of rape in court. Another scenario is if it was an accident, and the mother is not ready to be a mother or they’re not financially capable of raising a child. Christians might argue for adoption over abortion, but this overlooks the realities faced by children who remain unadopted or who suffer within the foster care system. There are so many circumstances that justify an abortion, but conservative Christians often choose to be ignorant and invalidate the opposing view.