Wednesday, October 3, 2012

An Open Letter to Americans Who Believe This Is a Christian Nation

Dear People Who Believe America Is a Christian Nation,

I've been thinking long and hard about what it must mean to you to be a Christian Nation, and I'm still very confused.  What exactly do you mean by "Christian Nation"?  How do you define it?  How should Christianity be expressed and enforced?

Is it that you believe our leaders should be Christian?  This is diametrically opposed to the Constitution which states that there will be no religious tests for elected officials.  Besides, Christians come in many flavors.  Jimmy Carter proudly calls himself a born-again Christian, and yet it seems he is universally loathed by the Religious Right.  George W. Bush calls himself a born-again Christian as well. Would both of them be considered a proper leader of a Christian Nation? Is there a certain mold of Christianity that you require in your public servants?  Do you honestly believe that only a Christian is the right person for the job?

Anyway, if you believe this is a Christian Nation, why did you vote for a Mormon?  I learned in a Christian church that Mormons were a dangerous cult that mocked and perverted Christian teachings.

"We want Christian principles!" Is the reply.  Again, which Christian principles?  Christian principles are split into many ideologies.  Do you want your principles to come from Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed, Doug Philips, Dinesh D'Souza, Tony Perkins, James Dobson, or Bill Gothard?  Perhaps you would prefer the Christian principles of Martin Luther King Jr, William Sloane Coffin, Desmond Tutu, Barry Lynn or the founders of the Clergy Letter Project? What about Catholics?  Are Catholics the right kind of Christian or aren't they?

What Christian principles do you value most?  Do you believe that Christian principles are about the Ten Commandments and that we need Christianity to avoid crimes like theft and murder and lying.  Guess what?  All major religions, and even atheists, condemn crimes like theft and murder.  Respect for others are also at the core beliefs of most religions.  Do you think Christianity is the only force stopping all humans from going on a murder spree?  Even atheists believe in The Golden Rule.  Christianity doesn't have a monopoly on morality and respect.

Do you believe that there should be only one set of Christian principles across the board? Which ones?  Before you say, "All of them," remember that different Christians hold very different ideas of what Christian principles are.  Think long and hard about your own life and your own lifestyle.  What freedoms do you currently enjoy that might be considered sins by certain Christian groups?  Do you understand that drinking alcohol, dancing, having non-marital sex, or disobeying your husband are considered grievous sins by many Christian sects? Maybe you repent of those sins now, but do you believe it's your place to tell others that they can't commit those perceived sins? Do you believe it's up to the individual to make peace with God regarding their sins, or do you think the government needs to prevent them from sinning in the first place?

Once you have chosen that set of Christian standards how do you intend to enforce them?  Should Christian principles be law? Do we have one standard moral code across the entire country, according to one version of one religion? Should they be enforced by some kind of morals squad?

Such a culture already exists.  It's called The Taliban. Just because it's your religion that's being enforced doesn't mean such a culture is one you would wish to live in. Be careful what you wish for.

You can call the United States a Christian Nation because Christianity is the majority religion.  There is no doubt about that.  Should Christianity be enforced due to majority rule?  What exactly do you do with the other religions in the country?  I know George W. Bush once said that atheists should not be considered American citizens and don't deserve the same rights as religious Americans.  Should we force a conversion, or should all atheists just pack their bags?  Maybe they should be sent to prison or to some kind of re-education camps for not believing. How about they pay an "atheist tax"?  I know believers in a Christian nation do not think very highly of Islam.  I ask the same question.  Will Muslims be deported or just forced to convert in order to maintain Christian Nation status?  What about the Jews?  I assume Jews are allowed if the vote Republican and act as mainstream as possible (yarmulkes are forbidden and so is speaking Yiddish). How about Buddhists?  Pagans?  Satanists?  Santerians? Voodoo? Shintoists? You might not like their religions very much, but do they have a right to live in this country?

I'm serious.  Take a long look at what is to be done with the citizens who aren't Christian?  Do you force them to live by what you consider to be Christian values?  So many Christians talk of their fear that Muslims in this country will enforce Sharia law on everyone.  Why would American Muslims want to live under Christian law?  How would you like it if this were a Jewish nation?  Bacon is banned and you now need separate dishwashers for your meat and your dairy products.  Also your workweek starts on Sunday.  If you believe in the principle of "Do unto others..." then why would you want to impose your rules onto other religions when you would not want them doing that to you?

Do you have friends or relatives that aren't Christian?  Would you like to see them made miserable by a Christian rule?  Would you want them to leave the country because this is a Christian Nation?  If you're reading this and you are one of my friends or family members, how much do you like my husband and me?  I'm an unconventional humanist slightly irrational skeptic.  My husband is Jewish.  They would load us onto the boat first if non-Christians were being kicked out of the country.  Would you miss us?  Are we immoral?  Are we not nice people?  Do we commit crimes and torture puppies?  Do we deserve the same rights as any other American citizens?

Maybe we don't.  Maybe it really is time to ship off all non-believers and non-Christians off somewhere else. 

Let's let the Christians have the United States all to themselves.  You guys want this country back so badly?  Okay.  You can have it.  It's yours. Use your guns to run us all out.  Enjoy your happy little homogeneous society where everyone believes the same thing, where everyone has the exact same standard of behavior, and where no one has an original though that doesn't fall in line with the Christian code.   If you miss the rest of us, remember how much better the country is without the immoral non-Christians.  We won't be trying to take your religion from you.   We won't be telling you what you should believe.  We won't be interfering with your freedom of religion. Hang the Ten Commandments in front of every public building.  Never say "Happy Holidays" again.  Say a Christian prayer at every public event.  Remove science education from schools.  Go crazy.   Kick everyone else out and run the country exactly as you want it.

I'm sure that's what Jesus would have done. 

I hope you enjoy it.

Love,
Rachel

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