Why should I care about the US Constitution?

- #atheist #atheism -

Very occasionally I’ll be debating atheism with a Christian, and then suddenly they’ll play the US ‘Christian nation' card. This reflects the wide belief amongst many US conservative Christians that the US was founded as a Christian nation- where the bible had an important role in forming the government.

This so often is based on the assumption I’m also from the US.

Actually, I’m from New Zealand. The relevance of the US constitution to me etc as a proof of god is completely moot.

But let’s develop this theme. Ignoring for a moment, the attempts to set the US up as a secular nation, lets assume that the US was strongly influenced by Christian beliefs (and the bible).  This can be contrasted to NZ where the founding document (Treaty of Waitangi) makes absolutely no mention at all, of any gods. Given one side of the treaty (indigenous Maori) still retained many of their pagan beliefs, that’s hardly a surprise.

So, how do we stand contrasting the two (young) nations on slavery?

  • In NZ slavery was immediately abolished as abhorrent.
  • In the USA, slavery was retained for decades and defended under biblical precedents. The ‘Curse of Ham’ (Genesis) was repeatedly used by religious leaders to justify black slavery. 

So, I’m going to score NZ ahead of the USA here. What about other individual rights? In which country did women first get the right to vote?

  • NZ extended the right to vote to women in 1893, the first country in the world to do so. The US took until 1919.

Hmm, another score for NZ. Well, what about the current situation. If we compare NZ to the USA, which one is ranked more democratic?

  • Actually, it’s NZ. NZ is ranked by the EIU (2011) as 5th most democratic nation on the planet.  The USA is ranked 19th.

Maybe the US does better on economic freedom? Afterall, it’s home of the free market etc.

  • According to the free-market think-tank CATO, NZ is ranked at number three  in the world in economic terms.  The US is ranked tenth.

Looks like that’s a clean sweep for NZ then. Our constitutional documents make no reference to god or the bible, and we’ve ended up extended human and political rights faster, while ended up with a more democratic and economically-free nation.

So, if you’re going to try impressing on me the value of Christian beliefs in the formation and development of the US, you might find that pretty hard going.

  1. pentaghast reblogged this from noelsword
  2. noelsword reblogged this from anotheratheist
  3. anotheratheist posted this