Column: No, we don’t need just one religion | Chroniclers



Christian nationalists, including Michael Flynn, do not seem to understand that religion flourishes in the United States because it is not constrained. (Olivier Douliery / Abaca Press / TNS)

Ed Tibbetts

Randall Balmer

There was a time, not so long ago, when Michael Flynn’s latest statement would have been considered outrageous, but I’m afraid we’ve reached the fatigue point of outrage.

“If we want to have a nation under God, what we need to do is have a religion,” Flynn said at a right-wing rally this month at Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. “A nation under God and a religion under God. “

Flynn, the disgraced former national security adviser to the Trump administration, has found a new calling as a darling of the religious right and, apparently, as a self-proclaimed historian. “I mean if you really study the 1500s, 1600s, 1700s and how we were created as a Judeo-Christian country with the beautiful and beautiful set of values ​​and principles that we have,” he said. . “But now we’ve lost sight of that. “

Well no. The United States was not “created as a Judeo-Christian country.” First, the term “Judeo-Christian” was not even coined until the 1890s. Specifically, the founders – many of whom were deists, not Orthodox Christians – were very suspicious of any attempt to promote one religion over another. This sentiment led to the First Amendment, which reads in part: “Congress shall not make any law respecting the establishment of a religion or prohibiting the free exercise of it.” “

Any attempt to establish “a religion under God” would certainly violate the First Amendment, America’s best idea. The founders didn’t want the government to dictate religious beliefs or favor one faith over another. Such an attempt to do so, they thought, was tyranny.

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