Is America a Christian Nation?
My latest article has been posted on AlterNet, Conservatives Want America to be a “Christian Nation” — Here’s What That Would Actually Look Like. In it, I analyze the “Christian nation” rhetoric of the American religious right, illuminating the historical reality they’d love to forget – that their ideological predecessors fiercely criticized the Constitution for being a godless document. Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the rest:
But America’s Constitution is more than just a secular document; it’s literally godless. It doesn’t claim that the ideas it contains were the product of divine revelation. It states that governing power comes from the will of the people, not the commands of a deity. It doesn’t assert that God has specially blessed this nation or shown it special favor — in fact, it never mentions God at all. And it mentions religion in only two places, both of them negative mentions: in Article VI, which forbids any religious test for public office, and in the First Amendment, which forbids Congress from passing any law respecting an establishment of religion.
If America’s founders had meant to establish a Christian nation, this is where they would have said so. But they said no such thing. And this leads into a historical fact that the religious right would dearly love to forget: the godlessness of the Constitution was a point of major controversy in the debate over ratification. When it was drafted, the fact that it made no explicit mention of God or Christianity wasn’t a minor oversight. It was a major, deliberate omission that was obvious to all…
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