CHRISTIAN AMERICA, LIKE IT OR NOT!

As if there weren’t enough burning issues on both sides of the political spectrum to irritate us, along comes Charles Haynes, and in the name of Christian principles no less, attempts to ignite unnecessary bush fires in order to prove his own cock-eyed thesis that in America the “Myth of a ‘Christian nation’ persists despite facts.” (Aug. 23) My first thought after reading his editorial – and after my anger subsided – was how many of those myriads of “culture warriors, pseudo-historians and opportunistic politicians” he mentions have actually spent real time peddling “the myth that America was founded as a Christian nation?” He admits that a majority of Americans believe “that the U.S. Constitution establishes a Christian nation,” and he resents it. Why should that notion be so offensive to Mr. Haynes that he must remind people that what they believe is a nasty piece of fiction? Regardless of whether or not the constitution established America as a Christian nation, why is he so hostile to and offended by those who believe that notion? Why the sense of urgency in needing to dispel the foolish “un-Christian” notion that America is a Christian nation founded upon Judeo/Christian principles? Does he believe we are in mortal danger? Certainly we are not an Islamic nation founded on the teachings of Mohammed. We are not a predominantly Jewish nation like Israel. Lest anyone think he is trying to restore truth and harmony between various factions, he conveniently overlooks the real myth about the so-called separation of church and state, forgetting that the constitution guarantees only that no one religion will dominate, like Catholicism in France, or the Anglican Church in England. Otherwise Americans are free to follow any religious persuasion – or none at all. But here’s how Mr. Haynes twists it: “Because language about a Christian America has long been a staple of Religious right rhetoric, it’s not surprising that acceptance of this patently false interpretation of the constitution is strongest among evangelicals and conservatives.” Eureka! Mr. Hayes comes from the left, and in his mind that makes him right!
So what does he tell us about America? Nothing useful. To bolster his non-Christian America thesis he cites Roger Williams, founder of the Colony of Rhode Island in 1636. But let me cite for him an earlier document: It’s called “The Mayflower compact,” composed by William Bradford in 1620. In it he writes: “We whose names are underwritten…by the grace of God…having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith…a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia.” America, Mr. Haynes, is, always has been, and ever will be a Christian nation, welcoming to all.

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