Friday, February 8, 2013

Fear of a Christian Nation

In 2001, after Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court was forced out of office for putting a granite monument of the Ten Commandments in the Alabama State Judicial Building, Roy loaded his monument on the back of a flat bed truck and took it on tour. Did Roy think that carving the Ten Commandments in granite would somehow give the words more gravity than they would on a simple piece of paper? Surely he knew that only religious fanatics like himself would be impressed by his virtuous road show.

When the flat bed truck pulled up in Georgia, the Atlanta TV news crews were there to get the best soundbites from fundamentalists with the thickest country accents. A comment from a chubby man with a bushy mustache and wearing a baseball cap and glasses caught my attention.

“In America,” he explained with more than a hint of righteous indignation, “you’re free to be a Muslim, a Jew, or a Satanist as long as you remember who’s in charge and understand that this is Christian Nation.”

I didn’t mind being lumped in with the Muslims, but how did the Satanists become part of our Axis of Non-Christian Religions? Do Satanists even get the same tax exemptions as other religions?

The man’s statement shows why I fear America ever becoming a true Christian Nation. How free would I be if I’m supposed to remember that Fundamentalist Christians are in charge of my life because I insist on continuing to pray to the wrong God?

The debate over whether America is or should be a Christian Nation goes back to the birth of our country. I believe the Founding Fathers didn’t want us to be a Christian Nation because religious freedom could only flourish if all religions, like all men, were treated equal.