Myth of the Christian Nation

One of the more enduring myths on the religious right is the notion that America is a “Christian” nation, or at the very least a nation founded on Judeo-Christian principles. Despite having no basis in fact or history this has become central to conservative mythology. One hears it from virtually every Republican politician, and it’s always accepted uncritically by conservative commentators and audiences.

Earlier this week, Republican candidate for president Ben Carson repeated this on Fox News, and he did it in typical nonchalant fashion, as though it were a truism. Near the end of a rambling interview about traditional marriage and religious liberty, Carson said: “This is a Judeo-Christian nation, in the sense that a lot of our values are based on a Judeo-Christian faith.”

This statement isn’t remotely true but it reflects a widespread ignorance about American history. America is currently populated by a majority of Christians, but this isn’t a Christian nation in any meaningful or legal sense. This inconvenient distinction is often lost on conservatives, and it’s why they’re under the impression that the government should respect their religious morality at the expense of all others (i.e., Kim Davis/Mike Huckabee).

There are two primary ways to argue that America is a Christian nation: One is to claim that our laws and Constitution are grounded in Christian values. The other is to say that the Founders of the country were Christians and that they conceived the government on the basis of those beliefs.

Both of these arguments are patently false.

First, the Constitution, which is sacrosanct in conservative circles (the parts they like anyway), makes no mention of Jesus, the Bible, Christianity or even God. In fact, when it does mention religion, it’s to prohibit the state from favoring one over another. When confronted with this fact, Christians eagerly point to the Declaration of Independence, particularly the part that reads “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.”

But again, with no mention of the Bible, Jesus, etc. that statement in no way justifies the view that America is a specifically Christian nation. Nearly all religious traditions have a “Creator.” Plus, even a casual reading of the Bible reveals that “all men are created equal” and posses “inalienable rights” are not values that the writers and early (or even many current) practitioners held.

As for the Founders themselves, many of them were deists, not Christians and certainly not Christians in the sense that Mike Huckabee or Ted Cruz or Bobby Jindal are. John Adams, for instance, the principal author of the Massachusetts constitution and our second president, signed the Treaty of Tripoli, which stated that “The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” Thomas Jefferson, the main author of the Declaration of the Independence and our third president, wrote in the Virginia Statue for Religious Freedom (the precursor to the First Amendment) “That our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.”

There is nothing unclear about the Founders’ intentions in other words. America’s political roots are decidedly secular, only fundamentalists are confused about this.

The irony of all this is that the Founders (most of them, at least) are precisely the kind of people modern conservatives openly hate. They were elitist European-style intellectuals who were inspired by the (for the time) progressive ideals of the Enlightenment. They looked to history and Western philosophy for guidance, not to the Bible. They wanted to create a government based on classical republican principles not divine-right monarchy, the preferred method of government found in the Bible. No objective or disinterested analysis of our founding documents suggests otherwise.

Conservatives can (and almost certainly will) ignore this, but that doesn’t change the fact that America is and was intended to be a secular republic, not a Christian theocracy. If the myth of America as a Christian nation endures among conservatives, it’s because people like Ben Carson repeat it endlessly without evidence and for political purposes.

Not Fooling Anyone

Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) signed legislation Thursday that allows business-owners to discriminate against pretty much anyone based on religious objections. Mainly because he thinks that he’s running for president in 2016 and feels he needs to pander to the religious fundamentalists in the Republican base.

Naturally, same-sex couples, gays and lesbians, along with perhaps even mixed-race couples and random minorities will be impacted the most, creating a convenient loophole for business-owners to refuse service to anyone who might make the business-owner feel icky.

The law is the first of at least a dozen proposals nationwide, a last gasp for anti-gay conservatives in the face of, among other things, legal and recognized same-sex marriages. But what it achieves is a return to the pre-Civil Rights Act era when bigoted shop owners could refuse service to African-Americans and other minorities.

Along those lines, you might be familiar with the story of Ollie’s Barbecue in Birmingham, Alabama. The owner, Ollie McClung Jr., sued the government in 1964 following the passage of the Civil Rights Act, insisting that allowing black customers in his restaurant would drive away the white customers. The case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously against McClung, upholding the Civil Rights Act. With this precedent in mind, it’s difficult to imagine the Indiana law holding up in court.

But let’s say it does. The Court today is loaded with neanderthals like Justices Scalia and Alito, and it’s difficult to imagine legitimate precedent topping the brute force of their obvious ideological bias. So, anything can happen, you don’t need to look any further than the Hobby Lobby decision.

The question remains however: If a religious objection is based on a business-owner being worried about violating biblical dogma and potentially committing a sin, where’s the chapter and verse pertaining to selling cakes to gay people?

In other words, where’s the part of the Bible in which God or any other character condemns the selling of goods and services to gay people or gay couples as a trespass? Don’t bother trying to find it because, as I alluded to in the last post, it’s not in there. The Bible has a few lines condemning same-sex intercourse, but there aren’t any “activist judges” or lawmakers forcing Christians to engage in gay sex, requiring this series of “religious freedom” laws.

Again, this law is about giving religious people the freedom to refuse to sell goods and services to customers because doing so would violate their religious beliefs. But those beliefs have to be based on some kind of biblical teaching and there aren’t any passages suggesting or even hinting at the idea that selling a pie to a so-called sinner also makes the pie-seller a sinner.

In order to legally justify a religious objection, shouldn’t a Christian business-owner cite biblical evidence for his or her objection? And if they do, what will they cite in this case? “It’s just what I believe” doesn’t cut it.

Now, where the issue gets sticky is the matter of officiating same-sex marriages. In that case, I’m not sure that same-sex couples would necessarily want to be married by someone who vocally objects to their marriage. Then again, there are religious same-sex couples who’d like to be married in a religious service by an officiant from their church.

The church could object based on the biblical references forbidding same-sex intercourse, or papal mandates, however marriage isn’t sex and officiating a marriage isn’t a direct endorsement of sex. Again, the Bible only forbids a man having sex with other man, not performing a wedding that will likely lead to the participants having sex. In the Catholic Church, the Pope can establish rules that augment what’s in the Bible. The Pope’s words are, in effect, the words of God and Pope Francis has condemned same-sex marriage. Catholic priests, therefore, could cite a specific ruling. That’s just the ballgame.

All told, this is a huge step backward. Obviously. It’s the return of segregation, not only impacting the LGBT community but all minorities (the Bible can, and was, used to justify segregation, slavery, etc). The sooner this makes it to the Supreme Court, the better. Until then, anyone with religious objections better know their Bible because they need to be prepared to cite the explicit basis for their objections.

A Quick Guide to Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz

The first GOP candidate to declare their intentions to run for president was Dr. Ben Carson, who followed his announcement with a disastrous interview on the Hugh Hewitt radio show during in which he erroneously cited the origins of Islam and suggested the Baltics weren’t part of NATO. Not a very strong start for the first candidate to hop into the clown car.

Next up: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is set to ride shotgun, announcing his candidacy on Monday at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. Let’s talk about Cruz by way of a refresher on what he’s all about.

Doh! Canada

Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 1970 to an American mother and a (insane) Cuban father. Sound familiar? The only difference between the presidency-related birth circumstances of President Obama and Ted Cruz is that Obama was actually born in the United States and Ted Cruz was not.

Of course this doesn’t matter because Obama is black with a funny-sounding name and Cruz is a white guy named “Ted,” so it’ll be assumed that Cruz is totally a natural born citizen while Obama isn’t. That seems fair.

Legally-speaking, Ted Cruz is perfectly eligible to be president based on the citizenship status of his mother, just like Barack Obama, especially given how the latter was born in Hawaii. But don’t expect a (fake) investigation by Donald Trump or any mass freakouts by a legion of conspiracy theorists over Cruz’s eligibility to be president because, again, he’s a white Republican. Anything is okay if you’re a white Republican.

No Experience Necessary

We have to wonder whether the GOP will retract its argument that a first term senator with no business experience shouldn’t be president. Cruz just completed his second year in the U.S. Senate, almost exactly the same amount of time Barack Obama had served before declaring his campaign for the Democratic nomination back in 2007.

Furthermore, Cruz has roughly the same private sector experience as Obama, having worked in law before entering public service. Beyond that he has no business experience to speak of, which is pretty astonishing given how Obama was relentlessly attacked in 2008 for only serving in Washington for two years and not accumulating any business management experience.

Green Eggs and (Very) Stupid

Ted Cruz’s biggest claim to fame came when he filibustered the removal of Obamacare de-funding language from a continuing resolution to fund the government. During the all-night self-beclowning, Cruz famously read the Dr. Seuss classic Green Eggs and Ham, obviously for the “I do not like it” line, correlating it to how he doesn’t like Obamacare.

He read it cover-to-cover, and must’ve been shocked by the ending when the main character ends up (whoops!) loving green eggs and ham after finally trying it. That’s right, Cruz fumbled a Dr. Seuss metaphor. Put another way: screw the 3 a.m. phone call litmus test, we now have to ask whether our presidential candidates can accurately comprehend the moral of a children’s book.

Ted Cruz the Prop Comic

Last year, Ted Cruz went on rampage against net neutrality. I know. Yawn. But in lockstep with the conservative entertainment complex, Cruz repeated all of the opposite-day lies about how net neutrality would lead to something, something, government tyranny.

One day, he decided to start his very own talking point, rather than just robotically repeating the off-the-shelf talking points. Cruz suggested that net neutrality would somehow restrict technological expansion and innovation, and used the iPhone as an example of technology that wouldn’t have been discovered if it had been regulated by the Federal Communications Commission. He even held up an iPhone as a prop during a speech to a group of young people and said:

When you regulate a public utility, it calcifies it — it freezes it in place. Let’s give a simple contrast. The Telecommunications Act of 1934 was adopted to regulate these [brings out an old rotary-dial phone]. To put regulations in place and what happened? It froze everything in place. This is regulated by Title II. [pulls out an iPhone] This is not.

Again, Cruz fumbled the demonstration. Of course the iPhone is regulated by the federal government. How do we know this? Look at the back of your iPhone and you’ll see several logos including an Apple logo and, yes, an FCC logo.

Reckless Ted

According to the Republicans and the press during the Ebola scare last year, we should all be dead now. The fact that we’re not is enough evidence that the panic was falsely amplified for the sake of dramatic flair. At one point CNN even hosted a medical-fiction author to discuss how quickly Ebola would become airborne and kill everyone.

In terms of the Republicans, it became abundantly clear that they were exaggerating the threat as a means of attacking the Obama administration for not, I don’t know, not exercising enough big government? That moment of clarity came when the Senate Republicans refused to approve Obama’s nominee for surgeon general in the middle of what we were being told was a massive public health crisis.

Leading the charge against the nominee was Ted Cruz. And why was Cruz holding up the nomination in the midst of the Ebola “crisis?” Because Dr. Vivek Murthy, who was eventually confirmed, once tweeted something about gun control. Cruz said:

Of course we should have a surgeon general in place. And we don’t have one because President Obama, instead of nominating a health professional, he nominated someone who is an anti-gun activist.

In other words, screw the (alleged) Ebola threat while we genuflect before the altar of Wayne LaPierre and the NRA. Priorities, right?

Clairvoyant Ted

Ted Cruz has his own coloring book just in case your kids are creepily into coloring a doughy tea party homophobe who knows less about the moral of Green Eggs and Ham than they do.

One of the pages features the following line:

Speaking with clairvoyant precision, it was as if Ted could see the immediate future of the quickly approaching Obama Care disaster.

Now, I know it’ll be difficult, but make sure your kids don’t fight over this page too viciously. But yeah, Cruz is apparently clairvoyant. You know how I know he’s not? Because Obamacare isn’t a disaster at all, in fact it’s quite the opposite.

For one, it’s responsible for the fewest uninsured Americans in 40 years. Costs are being controlled. The exchanges, including the Healthcare.gov exchange, are working fine and the second open enrollment period went off without a hitch, even though we didn’t hear much from the “liberal media” about it. Cruz is no more clairvoyant than a “guess your age and weight” carnie, and the carnies are right a lot more often.

No One’s Forcing Ted Cruz to Marry a Guy

Finally, Ted Cruz is leading marketer of the “same-sex marriage is a threat to religious liberty” nonsense. Simply put, Cruz believes that marriage equality will strip anti-gay religious people of their First Amendment rights. Cruz and others believe that, for example, a business should be able to refuse service to gay people because the Bible forbids homosexuality. Just a few days ago, Cruz said:

[T]he federal government and unelected judges cannot set aside the democratically-elected legislatures’ reasonable decisions to enact and protect traditional marriage. […] If the courts were following the Constitution, we shouldn’t need a new amendment, but they are, as you put it quite rightly, making it up right now and it’s a real danger to our liberty.

It’s a wafer-thin argument that we’ve seen before. First of all, the Bible forbids a lot of mundane things (eating shellfish, trimming your beard), and permits a lot of really awful things (slavery, child abuse).

Furthermore, no judge or lawmaker is pushing a law that mandates Christian men to have sex with other men, the so-called “abomination” that the Bible forbids. Conversely, there’s nothing in the Bible that forbids Christians from selling cakes or otherwise doing business with homosexual people. So anti-discrimination laws aren’t forcing Christians to violate biblical dogma in any way, thus these rulings aren’t violations of religious liberty. And Ted Cruz is an idiot.

Anything Else?

Yes, he’s also an insane conspiracy theorist:

Ted Cruz is a hardlined paleoconservative who represents the GOP’s harrowing conjugal union with the tea party. He’s a political demon whose soft-spoken persona and sad-clown eyebrows allow him to get away with the most poisonous Obama Derangement Syndrome fappery in Congress. He represents the new GOP cynicism, elevating anti-Obama pandering to his unglued base above actual governing.

But worry not. Ted Cruz isn’t win a damn thing other than a bump in his speaking fees due to his newly ordained status as a “presidential candidate” which is why he’s running in the first place.

 

Pray and Call me in the Morning

For a reminder that the so-called secular liberal media isn’t above kowtowing to the religious on occasion, look no further than last  Monday night’s closing segment on the NBC Nightly News from reporter Cynthia McFadden. It featured a paraplegic priest who doctors told would never walk again after breaking his neck, but thanks to prayer, (he claims) he now can. McFadden notes that half of Americans believe that prayer can heal before actually asking, “So why is it almost nonexistent in the doctor’s office?”

McFadden noted, “Those who pray daily are 40% less likely to have high blood pressure,” and cited studies indicating that prayer can help treat depression and anxiety.

 Given that 56% of Americans credit god for their well-being, and not their lifestyle choices, their genes, or medical professionals, many will no doubt view the segment as proof positive that god answers prayers. There is of course, no evidence for this.
As Dr. Richard Sloan pointed out in the segment, we never hear about all the times prayer doesn’t “work.” And while there are studies showing that prayer can be beneficial, these benefits likely have more to do with the placebo effect in the mind of the person praying.
It could be asked of the paraplegic Father Murray who says god has allowed him to walk again why physical therapy was a necessary component for his recovery. Notice that when people say god has healed their injuries or cured their maladies, they are invariably the recipients of what the medical field can offer them. With apologies to Benny Hinn and other evil “faith healers,” people do not cure their tumors by ceasing medical treatment and commencing a prayer-only regimen.

We might also ask, Which is more likely: Murray’s doctor erred in telling him he’d never walk again? Or his doctor was correct up until god made him wrong?

Still another question we could ask is, Why would god allow Murray to have his accident in the first place just to heal him after? Hardly seems worth the trouble, especially when Murray, having already been a man of god would surely be aware of the awesome powers of the heavenly father.

And finally, though this is hardly the first time it’s been posited; it’s our duty to inquire why god has never seen fit to heal an amputee. For all the maladies god has allegedly wiped away: cancer, glaucoma, lupus, depression, alcoholism, Ebola, and others, never once in the history of humankind has anyone claimed that god regenerated a lost limb.

Why? Because for religious people, god conveniently practices medicine out of plain view. And unfortunately for us, he never leaves any trace of his brilliant work that could save the lives of millions more if only doctors knew how to replicate it.

So What Would A “Christian Nation” Actually Look Like?

A frequent refrain among the religious right and Republicans is that the United States of America is a “Christian nation”, or that this country was founded on “Christian principles.” Last week, I shared a story where textbooks in Texas will now teach that Moses was the originator of democracy.

It’s worth calling attention to the obnoxious rhetorical ploy of using “Christian values” to refer to very specific, right-wing beliefs: preemptive war, gay-bashing, tax cuts for the rich, creationism in schools, deregulating corporations, dismantling the social safety net, the standard Republican package. As if they owned or had the right to define all of Christianity. In reality, there’s such a huge diversity of opinion among self-professed Christians that the term “Christian values” could mean nearly anything.

This broad range of opinion comes about because the Bible never mentions many of these issues, and addresses others in only vague or contradictory passages scattered throughout its individual books. This gives individual Christians wide latitude to find support in the text for virtually any political position you’d care to name.

However, there’s one area where there’s much less room for debate, and that’s the question of political organization. The Bible sets out a very clear picture of what its authors believed the ideal state would look like. We can compare this statement to the dictates of the Bible to see what it would mean to have a government based on “Christian values.”

But right away there’s a huge problem; the Bible’s ideal government is unequivocally theocracy via divine-right monarchy, a system of governance where the church and the state are one, where there’s an official religion which all citizens are required to profess, and where law is made by a single supreme ruler and enforced by the priesthood.

The New Testament itself teaches the virtue of submission to authority figures. It states unequivocally that earthly rulers, even when they are unjust, are ordained to their position by God and that Christian believers should obey them without question and those who resist are in peril of eternal damnation (Romans 13:1-2).

All these ideas, so clearly advocated in the Bible seem contrary to what the United States stands for. The idea of divine-right kingship is what our founders successfully rebelled against in bringing forth this country. Americans have a long and colorful history of debate, protest, and civil disobedience. The right to criticize our leaders is sanctified in the Constitution.

So, in an attempt to clear up these apparent contradictions, I’ll list some of America’s core defining principles as given in the Constitution, and examine whether any of them could plausibly be said to come from Christianity or the Bible.

Republican democracy:

The Constitution: Through a public ballot open to all adult citizens, Americans elect candidates who will represent them at the local, state and federal levels. All officials of the American government are either directly elected by the people or are appointed by others who are elected (Article I & II).

The Bible: Despite the fact that Athens adopted democracy around 500 BCE and Rome was a republic from ~510 BCE until 44 BCE, the Bible never even mentions democracy. As stated above, rather than democracy, the Bible’s preferred model of government is  divine-right monarchy, where one individual is hereditarily chosen and wields supreme power. In fact, it stands to reason that Jewish and early Christian authorities hated the concept of democracy since to them it would have been a strange, backward tradition invented and practiced by pagans.

Separation of powers:

The Constitution: The American government is divided into legislative, executive and judicial branches. Through various mechanisms, these three branches can check each other’s power – the president can issue pardons and veto legislation, Congress can override vetoes and pass constitutional amendments, and the courts can rule laws and executive actions unconstitutional – which ideally prevents too much power from accumulating in the hands of any one individual or group (Articles I-III).

The Bible: Again, in the Bible’s divine-right monarchy, a single individual wields supreme power over all functions of government. Some apologists seek to find an equivalent in a verse from Isaiah 33; “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king”.  What they overlook is that this verse explicitly envisions all three of these powers as being held by the same entity.

Federalism:

The Constitution: The U.S. is set up as a series of states with a limited degree of autonomy, united together and overseen by a central, federal government. Power is shared between the two, with some areas being the province of the states and others set by the federal authority (Article IV).

The Bible: There is actually a partial equivalence found for this in the Bible. In the Old Testament’s society, each of the twelve tribes of Israel had partial autonomy over its own region, which is somewhat similar to the American model of states. However, there is a notable difference. The Bible envisions membership in a tribe as hereditary, whereas states are made up of free collections of individuals who can move around at will. In any case, some sort of hierarchy is unavoidable in any organization too large for a single person to directly oversee.

The process of amendment:

The Constitution: The U.S. Constitution can be changed in any way, either to pass new clauses or to repeal existing ones if the proposed amendment is approved by a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress and three-quarters of the states (Article V).

The Bible: Rather than creating a living, dynamic system of laws that can be improved and mended as society sees fit, the Bible claims that its laws are eternal and immutable, literally set in stone, and can neither be added to nor changed. The Old Testament says that each of its laws “shall be a statute forever” (Leviticus 23:41), and the New Testament says that anyone who suggests a different gospel should be accursed (Galatians 1:8-9).

Religious freedom:

The Constitution: Explicitly provides that no religious test shall ever be required for any public office in the United States (Article VI), nor shall the government officially establish any religion (Amendment I). No law which infringes on the free exercise of religion is permitted.

The Bible: Do I even need to get into this? Far from granting people the right to worship as they see fit, the Bible says that anyone who encourages believers to serve other gods, or anyone who speaks “blasphemy”, should be killed (Deuteronomy 13:6-9, Leviticus 24:16). God himself joins in on many occasions by slaughtering people who worship different gods (Exodus 22:20). Although Jesus says that people should “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” (Mark 12:17), there is no indication that any non-Christian should enjoy the same freedom of worship as believers.

Freedom of speech, assembly, press and petition:

The Constitution: The First Amendment to the Constitution provides that no law shall be passed which abridges the citizens’ freedom of speech, nor their right to protest and petition the government, nor the right of the press to report information on the events of the day.

The Bible: Explicitly denied. As above, the Bible does not grant freedom of speech, but rather threatens death for those who speak in unapproved ways. Ancient Israel had no concept of the press, but there are many cases in which people were killed for unapproved assemblies or for questioning their leaders (Numbers 16:35).

Protection from search and seizure:

The Constitution: The police force in America (theoretically) may not enter a person’s home or search their possessions without proving reasonable suspicion and obtaining the consent of an independent magistrate in the form of a search warrant (Amendment IV).

The Bible: No equivalent. Lacking any judicial system or separation of powers, the Bible has no notion of search warrants or of protection from arbitrary seizure.

Trial by jury:

The Constitution: Americans accused of crimes can only be convicted by a jury made up of people living in the area where the crime has taken place. In addition, people on trial have the right to confront witnesses against them and may not be compelled to testify against themselves (Amendment V & VI).

The Bible: Nope. Again, the Bible has nothing like our custom of the legal or judicial system. It does say that a man who suspects his wife of committing adultery can bring her before the priests and force her to drink “bitter water” which will cause her belly to swell and her thighs to rot if she is guilty (Numbers 5). If anything, this is most similar to the barbaric concept of trial by ordeal. It also says that anyone who accidentally kills someone may be killed without consequence by a relative of the deceased whom it calls the “avenger of blood” (Joshua 20). Again, no mention is made of convening a jury to determine the guilt of the accused. Finally, it says that any person may be convicted of a crime on the testimony of just two witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15), which is a far cry from the American legal system.

Protection from cruel or unusual punishment:

The Constitution: Cruel, degrading, or torturous punishments are constitutionally forbidden (Amendment VIII).

The Bible: One of the most common punishments prescribed by the Bible is stoning – bludgeoning a person to death by smashing in his head and face with rocks. This penalty is prescribed for crimes such as disobeying one’s parents (Deuteronomy 21:21), picking up sticks on Sunday (Numbers 15:36), or being gay (Leviticus 20:13). This is cruel and unusual punishment by any rational definition of that term.

Equality of all people under the law:

The Constitution: Most fundamental to the American experiment is the idea that all people have equal protection under the law, that no one group has any more or fewer legal rights than any other (Amendment XIV). This more than anything else is the idea that defines us, and though we have not always lived up to it, throughout our history we have steadily been making strides toward expanding the boundaries of liberty to include all Americans.

The Bible: Explicitly denied. The Bible makes it clear that the Israelites enjoyed special favor as compared to everybody else, and were treated differently by the Mosaic law code. For example, foreigners taken as slaves could be kept indefinitely, while Israelite slaves were freed every seven years during Jubilee (Leviticus 25:39-46). Even among Israelites, there were stark divisions: women are worth considerably less than men (Leviticus 27:1-7), and the handicapped are discriminated against (Leviticus 21:17-23). Even Jesus joins in by making statements comparing non-Jews to dogs (Mark 7:27).

***

In sum, the basic principles of American democracy cannot be found in either testament of the Bible. This is hardly surprising, America’s founders drew their ideas from the rational philosophy of the Enlightenment, as well as from English common law; they said so themselves. America is a secular nation with a separation of church and state. We have no official faith and no national church as many European countries still do.

But America’s Constitution is more than just a secular document; it’s literally godless. It never claims that the ideas it contains were the product of divine revelation. It states that governing power comes from the will of the people, not the commands of a deity. It doesn’t assert that God has specially blessed this nation or shown it special favor. In fact, it never mentions God at all.

If America’s founders had meant to establish a Christian nation, this is where they would have said so. But they said no such thing. And this is a historical fact that the religious right would dearly love to forget.