If we fast-forward a couple of millennia or so to the birth of the American nation, we once again see the influence of Christ as a central tenet in the political equation.

Many of the early European settlers in this land were willing to uproot themselves from their homes in hope of finding a place in which they could practice their religion without interference from the government. In 16th-century Europe the Church had become wealthy and corrupt, and was in bed with the monarchies in wielding political power. Established religion had ceased to be a source of liberty and was used to enslave the masses.

Thus, in seeking to remove religion from politics, the early colonists were not forsaking their faith, but in fact reaffirming it. And, in fact, freedom of religion is the well from which all of the other freedoms we enjoy in this country spring.

Furthermore, it was Christ’s example that inspired the great acts of courage in the American Revolution. The writings of Thomas Paine and others look to God-given virtue as the qualification for selecting a leader, and rejected the idea of divine right of kings as a self-serving fallacy. Hereditary succession was viewed by colonists as a sure sign of corruption. The Boston Tea Party, in which colonists dumped the usuriously taxed products of Britain into the Boston Harbor, was an act of defiance inspired by Christ’s repudiation of the money-changers.

Many of America’s Founders derived their national zeal from a sense of manifest destiny: a belief that God had given them a mission to govern this land in order to spread democracy.