Friday, November 27, 2009

Bad history - Christian nation edition

Facebook is promoting a poll today that reads, "Obama said we are not a Christian nation. Do you agree?" The results--45% yes, 55% no--are alarming, but probably confused. I think some people who were thinking "we are not a Christian nation" might have voted "No" instead of the correct "Yes" we are not, with the Christian nationalists suffering the reverse confusion. It is possible that the results are right--Facebook poll takers are only a little less conservative than AOL poll takers--but the comments seem to running in the opposite direction at the moment, so I'm voting for confusion.

As might be expected, the comments are just as confused as the polling. This exchange shows bad history on both sides. Sharon Bland takes the Christian nationalist side.
This country was founded by Quakers and its laws are based on that quaker faith. Therefore this is a Christian country.

Um, Sharon? Quakers didn't found this country. They founded Pennsylvania long before this country was founded and long after Virginia and the Plymouth colony were founded. Besides, if we want to define what this country by the intentions of the first settlers, then we would have to say that this country is a British colony. Fortunately, we have Calvin Yeager to set Sharon straight>
No, they didn't. Teddy Roosevelt put "God" in the anthem to scare off Communists. You need to go back to Grade School.

Sigh. Let's go through this one at a time. We didn't have a national anthem when Teddy Roosevelt was president. No one has ever changed the lyrics to the "Star Spangled Banner." If we want to talk about adding "God" to something to tweak the Communists, that would be the Pledge of Allegiance (something that was written by a Socialist) which was changed during Eisenhower's tenure. Most Communists are made of sterner stuff than to run away from the mere word "God." There were also no Communists when TR was president. All of the Marxist Parties called themselves Socialists or Social Democrats until the Russian Revolution. TR's big bugaboo was Anarchists. Did I miss anything?

I'm not saying that both sides are equally misinformed. For the most part, the Christian nationalists spout a lot more nonsense that the secularists do.

It doesn't matter that the majority of Americans call themselves some sort of Christian. It doesn't matter whether the majority of the founding fathers called themselves some sort of Christian. The Constitution says we are a secular country. Our treaties say we are a secular country. The law says we are a secular country. The courts say we are a secular country. We are no more a Christian nation than we are a white nation. The majority is not entitled to a special position in America. Cows outnumber us three to one, that doesn't make us a nation of cattle. In America we do not merely tolerate minorities. Minorities are part of our society, part of our culture, and part of our national identity. Minorities have the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as the majority. To say otherwise is un-American.

No comments: