America’s earliest settlers were people of great faith

July 2, 2011 in How do you explain 'America the Religious'?, Question of the Week, Spotlight Answers by Albert Kirk

As we prepare to celebrate July 4, studies show that the wealthier a country is, the less important religion is to that country. The ONE EXCEPTION is the United States of America.

Our question to you this week:


Drawing on your life, your work and your time here in Memphis, how do you explain America the Religious?

If faith is in our American bones, it’s because the earliest settlers were people of deep faith. The Spanish explorers brought clergy with them, eager for an opportunity to share the good news of Christ with native peoples. The English settlers came looking for freedom of religion. The great waves of later immigrants found their sense of home and security in their faith communities.

We continue to be a country in which one’s religious beliefs can be freely expressed. As we celebrate July 4th, we give thanks to God and to our ancestors who often made incredible sacrifices to come here.

Jesus envisioned wealth as a danger to faithful discipleship. Perhaps religion remains strong in America because faith is rooted deeply in our DNA. However we should not be complacent. Affluence can subtly draw people away from their religious practice. One family has a home on the lake and spends quiet weekends there. Another family travels on many weekends and locating a house of worship becomes too much of a burden.

May the Holy Spirit guide us into the future, so that we bequeath to our children and grandchildren a nation that prizes faith, practices faith and continually purifies its faith.