The Christian Right (Wrong)

Richard T. Hughes has embarked upon a 4-part series entitled “The Christian Right in Context.” The first part, “The Long View,” is an excellent summation of Christianity in this country. He begins by talking about the current American crisis:

“The Christian Right stands at the heart of our current crisis since, for 30 years and more, the Christian Right has so successfully eaten away at the core, bedrock values that shaped this nation at its founding.

To advance this argument, of course, is to advance an irony, since the Christian Right has claimed from its inception that others — especially liberals, secularists and humanists — were eroding the values of the nation that they sought to affirm and protect.

And precisely in that claim we find the seeds of the current American crisis.”

He also touches upon Christianity as viewed and handled by the founders of our country:

“In spite of the claims of the Christian Right today, the simple truth is this: The Founders had no intention of creating a ‘Christian America.’ In fact, they categorically rejected the idea of a Christian nation for one important reason: They knew the history of the ‘Christian nations’ of Europe, nations that had persecuted non-conformists and waged war against countries that embraced a form of the Christian faith different from their own. The Founders, therefore, hoped to create a nation that honored religious diversity, a nation in which everyone would be free to practice any religion or none.

In light of the current hostility toward Muslims and the many recent attempts to ban their mosques and restrict their religious freedom, the Founders’ stance on Islam is instructive. Jefferson, for example, argued that America should extend complete freedom of religion not just to Christians but to the ‘Mahamdan,’ the Jew, and the ‘pagan’ as well. And following passage in Virginia of his Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom (1786), he reaffirmed the bill’s intent: ‘To comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mahometan.’”

The next installments should be enlightening.

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