What a great achievement the United States is and the entire process of breaking up Christendom into nation-states with their own sovereignty, based not on Christian teaching but on the give and take of practical politics. Gary Welton sees secularization as a problem but his reaction to the Paris killings actually shows the value of secularization:
I understand that much of the world sees the West as Christian, yet it can be argued that Christianity is on the decline in the West, while it is expanding in Africa and China. It is a stereotype to think that the West portrays the essence of Christianity. In fact, the West provides for a rather free expression of faith. Granted, Christianity has been the dominant faith in the West, but I am not willing, as a Christian, to take the blame for Charlie Hebdo’s depiction of Muhammad. Charlie Hebdo is a reflection of the secular West, not particularly a reflection of Christianity. I am not Charlie Hebdo.
If Europe and its off shoots around the world were still in the mold of Christendom, Mr. Welton would not have the option of distinguishing between his temporal and spiritual identities. Again, the Crusaders did not fight as Frenchmen, Germans, Spaniards, or Irish. They fought as Christians. But by distinguishing Christian identity from a political one defined by a nation (as problematic as that may be), Mr. Welton and I have the advantage of dissenting from our countries’ policies and distinguishing Christianity from politics. But if we get rid of secularization, then Christians need to fight in the name of Christ. And that doesn’t make any biblical sense. Just ask Peter, the first pope.