To the editor:
Jon, I will attempt to answer your questions. First of all, you are speaking as a modern day observer and your objections are reasonable. Frank and Elaine (I'm guessing here, I didn't read their letters) are speaking from a biblical perspective and a Christian concept of America that was around in the days before America changed.
The Declaration of Independence speaks of God in the first paragraph and the Creator in the second paragraph, because God is the one who gave us the concept that all people are created equal in worth before God. As such, all people have certain rights, such as the right to the pursuit of happiness; the right to live true to their own beliefs as long as their lifestyle does not harm others; the right to form a more perfect union, of the people, by the people and for the people.
America's laws were originally based upon God's precepts of right and wrong, although not everyone in America believed in the Christian God. Those who were leading and those who were most influential in America were for the most part believers, thus they feared God, which means, they heard what he said in his word about a nation perishing if it does not heed his precepts.
The 13 colonies all had references to God in their constitutions and many even insisted that a person couldn't qualify for office unless he was a Christian. This shows that early America believed it was for their good to heed the Lord.
Then there's the Pledge of Allegiance which says we are one nation under God. It was so stated because the idea was not challenged at that time. It is challenged now.
The Constitution of the United States, it is evident to conscientious Christians, was inspired by God's spirit of love and consideration for everyone. It does not mention God because it is for all Americans whether they believe in God or not. God does not force his rules for life on anyone. He just loves people and tries to get through to them. Whereas President Obama is working toward forcing all to live by his philosophy.
The Treaty of Tripoli is of the same spirit, that of making room for everyone. It is not designed to imply that America is not a Christian nation, but it is designed to accommodate all Americans whether they are believers or not. Its laws are patterned after the love of God, but it is not demanding allegiance to Christ. The laws do demand respect for one another.
It was a Christian nation because the founders, leaders and populous as a whole were either Christians or at least acknowledged the Creator and the Lord. The Bible was America's guide for laws, morals and behavior. The first states declared God to be God in America. The nation as a whole based its rules of behavior on God's teaching, but individuals have a right to not believe in God or morality.
President Obama also claims to be a Muslim when he is in their midst. His statement that he is a Christian is highly debatable.
Things have changes. America is the great melting pot and the thoughts and ideas that influence America have moved away from the Christian God and Bible and have come to embrace many different gods.
As for your quote in Romans, God let Hitler come into power too, but he was not good for the people. It was what the people wanted so he let them have him. He has decreed: "Be it unto you according to your ways." And he pleads with mankind to choose life or to choose death.
Why would God allow such atrocities as Hitler? To teach the people what happens when they put other things before him. We are in a similar, maybe even identical, situation today and that is where Frank is coming from. God did not do away with the Old Testament, he provided mankind with Jesus to enable them to live in fellowship with him and therefore make good choices. Many who call themselves Christians are not in fellowship with him and this is why the Christian influence is not prevailing in America.