The United States is not an officially Christian nation and was not intended to be, Bishop T.D. Jakes said in August.
Jakes, a prominent African-American pastor, heads The Potter’s House, a large non-denominational church in Dallas with more than 30,000 members. He is considered one of the most influential religious leaders in the country today.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution religion reporter Gayle White asked Jakes about his view on the Christian nation controversy during a meeting in Atlanta with members of the National Association of Black Journalists.
“I don’t think we are a Christian nation,” Jakes replied. “And I don’t think we were meant to be.”
He added, “As we continue to try to politicize God, or market God, or say that America is Christian, or that God is with one party, or that God is here and not there, it only further points to the fact that we don’t understand how big God is and how great God is.”
As USA Today columnist DeWayne Wickham noted, “It is Jakes’ super-pastor standing that makes his answer to the question so important.”
Wickham also noted that Jakes’ answer “put himself at loggerheads with those on the religious right who claim that this nation is a Christian state and who clamor for politicians to follow their lead.”
Wickham also pointed out that Jakes takes some conservative views, noting that he opposes same-sex marriage and has advised President George W. Bush.
Concluded Wickham, “I don’t agree with all that he says, but I celebrate his refusal to join the ranks of the church zealots of the left or the right, or to blindly align himself with those politicians who pander to them.”